In the 5th phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh, the formidable Gathbandhan (alliance) will consolidate its decisive lead over the Bharatiya Janata Party, winning eight of the 14 seats while the Congress will retain its two seats. The BJP will have to content itself with just four seats. Compared with the 2014 polls, this would be another dismal showing by the ruling BJP, which had then won 12 of these seats. This is indicated by seat projections done by Newsclick’s data analytics team using the 2017 Assembly election results and factoring in a 2.5% swing away from the BJP.
Adding up the projected results from the first five phases of polling in UP, the Gathbandhan of Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) is set to get 35 of the 53 seats, up from just four seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress is projected to retain its two seats while the BJP will slide from 47 seats in 2014 to 16 this time round, as per the projections.
The fifth phase covers constituencies in the Awadh region, with some part of the Bundelkhand also thrown in. Lucknow is the biggest city going to polls in this phase. Also included is the Faizabad constituency, where Ayodhya, the site of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi/Babri Masjid, is located. The region stretches from the extremely neglected terai districts of Bahraich and part of Kheri, through the fertile plains to the arid and backward Bundelkhand district of Banda.
A predominantly agrarian region, with minimal industrialisation, some of the districts exhibit shockingly low health and educational markers (See constituency checker section of Factchecker.in, set up by IndiaSpend in collaboration with Newsclick).
For instance, in Bahraich district in the terai region, 65% of children under 5 years were stunted and 74% were anaemic. The drop-out rate at class V level was a staggering 41% and only 16% of women had completed 10 years of schooling. In Mohanlalganj district, right next to Lucknow, 41% of children were stunted and 68% suffered from anaemia. Over 55% of women were anaemic. In Banda, at the southern end, things were not much different with over 48% of under 5 children stunted and 67% anaemic. Only 26% women had 10 years or more of schooling.
The projected loss of BJP in this part of UP is a clear sign of the shape of things to come in the forthcoming sixth and seventh phases of polling, which cover constituencies very similar to the ones in this fifth phase. It is a very heavy population density region falling in the eastern part of UP and has been traditionally a stronghold of both SP and BSP. Their coming together is bound to make the Gathbandhan a very strong force, as was foretold in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls held last year where seats held by Yogi Adityanath, chief minister of the state, and Keshav Prasad Maurya, deputy CM, were ceded to the Gathbandhan.