The electoral battle in Uttar Pradesh for its 403 assembly seats is going to be a direct contest between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo and former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, as other main contenders like BSP chief Mayawati and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi are marginalised, as the trends for the last few days suggest.
CM Yogi Adityanath is struggling to be the centre of poll plank for BJP, but the internal dynamics of UP make it difficult for him to win the state purely based on his image and hard work in the last five years. In fact, Yogi, who was hailed as UPYogi by Modi, is not strong enough to ensure victory to BJP this time. So, Yogi needs the image of Modi to win UP.
Akhilesh scored early brownies by snatching three ministers and six MLAs from BJP by consolidating the OBC constituency, but the saffron leaders quickly got into act by stitching an alliance with OBC parties Apna Dal and Nishad Party to balance the things, though it is not clear whether these two smaller parties can undo the damage done by now deserted ministers like SP Mourya.
According to indications, it is still BJP which may cross the half way mark by winning around 2025 MLAs, down from its earlier figure of 320 while SP may put up with 175 MLAs, up from its past tally of 47.