Mayawati on top, Samajwadi set to lose, says survey


New Delhi, April 22 The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will finish on top of a hung Uttar Pradesh assembly with more seats than predicted earlier, pushing the Samajwadi Party to the third place, a survey published Sunday said.

The keenly contested assembly election will also push up the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to the second spot although neither the BJP nor Samajwadi Party will touch three-digit figures, said the survey carried in The Sunday Express.

The BSP could finish with 150-160 seats in a house of 403, slightly more than what had been predicted before the seven-leg election began May 7.

In contrast, the Samajwadi Party would end up with 85-95 seats, much less than the 145-155 it was expected to win earlier.

The BJP would finish with more or less the 106 seats it won in 2002 but more than the paltry 50-60 it was earlier thought it would have to settle for.

The survey, conducted after the third phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh May 18, said Rahul Gandhi's aggressive campaign may have come too late and that the Congress party will finish a distant fourth with 25-30 seats.

'The BSP has emerged as a clear front runner in the first three phases of the assembly elections,' it said, adding that indications were that its lead 'over its rivals may be bigger than suggested by various exit polls'.

In the process, the BSP 'may be the only serious contender for government formation in what is likely to be another hung assembly', it added.

The survey said the BSP was estimated to have secured 28 percent of all votes polled thus far in the country's most populous state. The BJP had improved its position and touched the 23 percent mark.

'A lead of five percentage points over the nearest rival may appear a tiny lead. But in a four-way contest, this could give the BSP a disproportionately large number of seats.'

The BSP - which in Uttar Pradesh commands the unquestioned loyalty of Dalits - has apparently gained new voters among Muslims, Brahmins, Jats and sections of other backward castes.

'If there is one big loser in the last one month, it is clearly the incumbent Samajwadi Party, which appears on its way to being unseated,' it said.

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Published on: June 11, 2001
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