Uttar Pradesh has always been a crucial state in the Lok Sabha elections, but this time the sheer difference in turnout between urban and rural belts of UP will play a very significant role on the outcome in the state. The result for the 2019 Lok Sabha election will be declared on May 23. Exit polls suggest that Narendra Modi is likely to get a second term as Prime Minister, predicting that the BJP-led NDA will safely cross the 300-seat mark, a comfortable majority. The exit polls also predict that the Congress-led UPA will get little over 110 seats. Counting of votes will begin at 8 am IST on Thursday, May 23 and the result is expected to be known by the evening.
Uttar Pradesh, which is India's most populous state, has the largest share of seats (80) among all the states and union territories in the Lok Sabha (543 seats). The 2019 general election data for UP has shown a larger rural-urban divide. Cities in Uttar Pradesh saw a lower than average voter turnout, thereby adversely affecting the state.
Uttar Pradesh saw 59.52 per cent voter turnout, way below the record national average of 67.10 per cent. A breakdown of UP's 80 seats show that all the major cities saw a low voter turnout, while rural areas witnessed brisk polling.
Ghaziabad Assembly segment, a strong urban conglomerate in western Uttar Pradesh, saw 53.28 per cent polling. Sahibabad, a neighbouring urban centre, saw a turnout of 49.5 per cent. Noida, which borders the national capital, recorded a turnout of 52.35 per cent voting.
This is in sharp contrast to many rural segments in western UP, where polling was recorded at over 70 per cent. While Khatauli Assembly segment in Muzaffarnagar saw 72.16 per cent voting, Behat Assembly segment in Saharanpur saw 73.78 per cent polling.
Kanpur saw a turnout of 51.48 per cent. Allahabad, now known as Prayagraj, saw 51.70 per cent polling. Within the city, only 40.25 per cent voted in Allahabad South. Allahabad West, which is part of Phulpur Lok Sabha seat, saw 42.38 per cent voting and Allahabad North, also under Phulpur, was even below 40 per cent - at 38.98, one of the lowest in the state.
State capital Lucknow also saw only 53.30 per cent polling. A similar trend was witnessed in smaller cities like Bareilly, where the poll percentage barely crossed 50 per cent.
This rural-urban divide suggests that the rural voter in Uttar Pradesh holds the key to who will win the most seats in the state.
An average of all the exit polls predict that the BJP, which is facing a unified SP-BSP combine, is likely to get around 50 seats. The Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party 'gathbandhan' (alliance) is likely to get around 28 seats, while the Congress may get only 2.
While exit polls broadly show the trend in which citizens have voted, their prediction is not always accurate.Comments
(With inputs from IANS)