Anti-incumbency is likely to dictate the electoral fortunes of the hill state of Uttarakhand once again, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) looking set to end the Congress' five-year reign and return to power.
According to a series of opinion polls conducted by different organisations all are giving the saffron party between 36-42 seats in the 70-seat Assembly. The incumbent Congress government, the opinion polls suggest, may have to settle for just 22-27 seats. Other parties, including Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and independent candidates, may win between one and four seats.
The India Today-Axis survey, conducted in all five poll-bound states, predicted a comfortable win for BJP in Uttarakhand, with 40-44 seats out of 70.
Another poll, conducted by The Week-Hansa Research has also predicted a similar success story for the saffron party in Uttarakhand. In fact, according to this survey, Uttarakhand is the only one among five poll-bound states where BJP will enjoy a majority on its own. It says BJP will clinch between 37 to 39 seats in the state, while Congress may have to settle for just about 27-29. It said the remaining one to three seats may be split between BSP and independent candidates.
The poll suggests that the fact that several senior Congress leaders have deserted the party in recent weeks may have hurt Harish Rawat's government. Moreover, given the large proportion of retired and serving armed forces personnel in the hill state, the fact that a central government ruled by the BJP has conducted successful surgical strikes against Pakistan, and has made the right noises on its promise of 'one-rank-one-pension' will work in the saffron party's favour in the state.
A third opinion poll, this one held by Lokniti-ABP News, also reached the same consensus: That the BJP will win at least 10 seats more than Congress and comfortably sweep to victory to form a government on its own. The survey had BJP bagging 35-43 seats in the 70-member Assembly, reducing Congress to just 22-30 seats.
As far as voteshare is concerned, the survey said, Congress is likely to win about 33 percent of total votes polled, as compared to 40 percent won by the BJP. This represents a 7 percent improvement for the BJP since the 2012 Assembly polls, but also suggests a 15 percent reduction in votes polled from the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. However, though the votes are going against his government, chief minister Harish Rawat's popularity remains undiminished. Of those polled, 19 percent said they would like to see Rawat as chief minister, while BJP's chief ministerial frontrunner BC Khanduri was picked by only 13 percent of the respondents.
Updated Date: Feb 03, 2017 22:23 PM