First things first. Where was I yesterday?
Well, obviously, I was wasting the whole day on Twitter “monitoring trends” from Uttar Pradesh, to the extent that is possible for someone on social media.
That is why I didn’t want to say anything yesterday, I was still trying to be sure what was the mood, what the usual sources were saying.
Well, I have made up my mind now … or perhaps I can’t wait any longer to talk about it. I am now quite convinced that BJP has made a tremendous beginning in Uttar Pradesh. The party has likely taken a minimum of 40 seats out of the 73 that polled yesterday … but the way things go these days… sweeps have become commonplace. So don’t be surprised if we go past 50.
What makes me think so? Well, for one, there is Praveen Patil who did a tremendous job yesterday putting out data live. I encourage everyone here to sign up on 5Forty3 “leaf”. It takes a second and the interface is simply amazing. It is something to see how a “social network” can be integrated so beautifully into a poll analysing platform. You can find me there as “Sujoy Ghosh” (both parts of that name are fake).
The “ground reports” from Patil (thanks to our undemocratic overlords at the EC, we do not enjoy the freedom of expression to call them exit polls) point to an amazing sweep by the BJP. There is no doubt that the vote share gaps are nowhere near 2014, but that is to be expected.
Then, there are “ground reports” coming in from IBTL, which have a great track record as well (with the important exception of Bihar). Then, there are certain twitter handles that have given us correct info from survey results in the past and they all agree : BJP has swept phase 1.
Here is my approach towards opinion/exit polls (oops…sorry… “ground reports”). Never trust any single poll. Trust only when multiple polls agree on the same thing. And yesterday they did.
The depression in the secular camp can be gauged from these tweets as well.
Hmmm…that is quite different from the “done and dusted” mood of the secular brigade after the first phase of the Bihar poll. “Developing still” means that they haven’t got the results they wanted.
Ah ha! Associate Editor of HT has just realized that parties try to get an advantage by creating “hawa” in their favor. Such wisdom never surfaced at the time of Bihar elections, when Team PK went to town with rumors of Modi running away from the battle after Phase 1! Seems that the rumors going around Uttar Pradesh are not in favor of the “idea of India”.
Some of the usual suspects gauged the collapsing mood in the secular camp and tried to lift their spirits.
LOL! Observe how even in this rumor mongering, the secular camp doesn’t have the confidence to show Akhilesh ahead. In fact they show the alliance getting fewer seats than SP alone got in this area in 2012 🙂 This is a common theme I observed with secular reporters yesterday : they were seeking out the BSP and RLD as crutches, none of them had the confidence to show their beloved alliance ahead!
To which I ask the seculars: Hey, what happened to your Akhilesh wave?
The consensus therefore between left and right yesterday is that Akhilesh has performed miserably in Phase 1. Now, I know that Uttar Pradesh is a large state. But 73 seats out of 403 is a very substantial number of seats. So as many as 73 seats go to polls and the guy who is riding a “wave” is struggling to even get the No. 2 position? Has such a thing happened in any wave election before? What happened to the “vikas purush” of Uttar Pradesh?
Instead, I saw seculars leaning on BSP and the “vote katwa party”, the RLD. Listen seculars, it simply does not work that way. The “vote katwa” approach hasn’t succeeded anywhere in over a decade and it is not going to work in Uttar Pradesh either.
Yes, the BJP has got a stroke of luck in the fact that Western UP went to polls first, where SP was weakest and BJP was strongest. Such luck always balances out … in Bihar… the first phase was firmly in pro-JDU/RJD territory. Which is why, when you get such luck, you must grab it with both hands! And I feel the BJP has done just that. I observed a sense of purpose and determination in BJP yesterday which was lacking in Bihar. As many as the first 3 of the 7 phase election will happen in BJP’s strongest territories. The psychological battle is very important here. The BJP has a chance to demolish the morale of the SP+Cong alliance workers. From what I have seen, the BJP is deeply aware of this and working to a plan.
The geography of Uttar Pradesh favors BJP. It will definitely hold a big lead after the first 3 phases. Then comes the difficult central region in Doab and Avadh. But SP workers, already disappointed by Western UP, will have to deal with the troubling fact that the last phases will also be in BJP friendly territories of Varanasi and Gorakhpur. It will put a lot of “performance pressure” on SP workers in Central UP and the BJP has to make the best of this. An election is won as much in the mind as on the ground. Full speed ahead please…