A lot depends on the mood swing of voters in Uttar Pradesh as even a small change in their mind can tilt the scale for or against a candidate or party, going by the poll data of recent years.
As the state is witnessing a razor sharp contest this time among SP-Congress combine, BJP and BSP, even minor changes in the vote share will translate into huge shifts in a number of seats to make or mar the electoral prospect of a party or alliance.
A cursory look at data of the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in recent years shows that in 2007, BSP won just over 30 per cent of the votes, SP a little over 26 pc, BJP 17 pc and Congress about 8.5 per cent.
But, five years later though SP garnered just three more percentage points, it translated into a windfall for the party whose tally in the 403-member UP Assembly shot up from 97 to best ever 224 to put the party filly in saddle with thumping majority.
BSP’s vote share in 2012 fell by 4.5 percentage points compared to 2007, but the loss was immense in terms of seats as the party’s tally nosedived from 206 to 80.
In 2009 Lok Sabha polls, BSP won 20 of the 80 seats in UP with a vote share of 27.42 per cent, Congress got 21 seats with vote share of 18.25 per cent, BJP bagged 10 seats with 17.5 per cent votes and SP pocketed 23 seats with 23.26 per cent votes.
The political skyline in the state saw dramatic changes during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when BJP’s vote share of 42.6 per cent fetched the saffron party the lion’s share of 71 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats—almost 90 of the constituencies up for grabs.
A detailed look at the segment-wise performance of BJP shows the party was ahead of its rivals in 80 per cent of the 403 Assembly segments.
On the other hand, SP had to rest content with leads in just 42 assembly segments, while BSP saw a dismal performance by remaining ahead in only nine segments.
Political analysts say if BJP drops 10 percentage points from its 2014 Lok Sabha vote share, it can still emerge as the largest party and even touch the magic mark of 202 in the 403-member House for a simple majority.
They say that with 32 per cent vote share, BJP would still be ahead of what BSP had polled in 2007 or SP in 2012.
Smaller outfits, like Apna Dal, with which BJP forged an alliance before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, paid dividends as Anupriya Patel’s party won two seats, taking NDA tally to 73 in the state.
Referring to SP’s alliance with Congress, analysts say Congress with its 7-9 percent vote share in the last few elections, could help the ruling party to a great extent.
As smaller parties and castes and sub-castes play a crucial role in deciding the fate of a candidate or party, none is leaving any stone unturned to woo them to reap a bumper electoral harvest.