The BJP's performance in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections will exceed the simple majority predicted by exit polls and hover around the 300 mark, the party's state party chief Keshav Prasad Maurya told NDTV on Friday, hours before counting of votes for the 403-seat assembly begins.
- BJP will cross majority mark, get over 300 seats: Keshav Prasad Maurya
- Mr Maurya said public support for PM Modi cuts across castes
- Exit polls have predicted BJP getting 211 of 403 seats in the assembly
Mr Maurya said the broad-based public support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi across castes that had delivered a landslide 71 out of 80 seats in India's most populous state in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was intact, and would not only be repeated in 2017 assembly elections but in the 2019 general elections too.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, he said, conceded defeat when he started talking about tying up with the BSP's Mayawati. "The BJP believes he can tie up with his aunt, friend Rahul (Gandhi)... with whoever he wants. But the BJP is going to get such big numbers that the BSP and SP are going to be uprooted," he said. And you don't need to wait all day for the results. He said the message from the people will be clear by 11 a.m.
An aggregate of the poll of exit polls suggests that the BJP - which contested the election against the BSP led by Mayawati and the SP-Congress combine under Akhilesh Yadav's leadership without a chief ministerial face - has a clear edge in Uttar Pradesh.
The state BJP president said his confidence didn't stem from the exit poll results but on the strength of the party's 1.4 lakh polling booth-level committees and the hard work put in by party workers over the last 10 months. The Lok Sabha member from the Phulpur seat - that was once represented by Jawaharlal Nehru - was elevated as state party unit chief in April last year, a surprise decision that was calculated to reach out to non-Yadav OBCs in the state.
It is a strategy that some experts believe may have delivered dividends for the BJP. Mr Maurya insists the appeal of PM Modi - who he called the messiah of the poor - cuts across caste divisions by the SP, BSP and the Congress.