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    Posted on 15 September 2011

    Caste politics works, Rahul is a hit in UP: Survey

    An AC Nielsen survey promises bright future for the Congress in UP with 12 per cent votes in its favour, says Iftikhar Gilani

    The Rahul effect in UP had begun making its presence felt in the Lok Sabha elections in 2009

    A poll survey commissioned by the Congress in Uttar Pradesh (UP) shows that the Rahul Gandhi card has turned its fortunes in the state. The survey results also serve to lay a lot speculation to rest after it predicts that the Congress would win 172 seats in the 404-member House, thanks to 12 per cent swing in its favour.

    The survey was conducted by AC Nielson, the second of its kind to assess the party prospects in the state. The survey report received last week, says the Congress is back in the reckoning because of a Muslim polarisation in its favour.

    An enthused Sonia Gandhi, on Thursday, chose to chair the Central Election Committee (CEC) herself, her first appearance in front of party leaders since her return to the country after surgery last month, to decide the second list of candidates. The party has already released the first list of 70.

    Gandhi didn’t only show interest in deciding upon the candidates but also told her party members at her 10 Janpath residence that everyone in the Congress will have to spend more time in UP to make Rahul's dream - to return the party to power in the state – come true.

    Gandhi has, however, left it to Rahul to decide whether the party should give a little push to cover up the deficit of some 30 seats to form the Congress government or to go for alliance with some small parties, post-poll or during the elections.

    The poll survey is definitely very encouraging since the Congress had finished a poor fourth in the last Assembly elections in 2007 with only 20 seats, the Samajwadi Party and the BJP finished second and third with 88 and 48 seats respectively and the Bahujan Samaj Party bagging 226 seats for its leader Mayawati. The Congress’ vote share then was 8.61 per cent.

    The Rahul effect in UP had begun making its presence felt in the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 when its vote share shot up to 18.3 per cent and it bagged 21 of the 80 seats as against the Samajwadi Party winning 23 seats with 23.4 per cent votes, the BJP 15 seats with 17.5 per cent votes and the ruling BSP bagging only 20 seats despite the highest vote share of 27.4 per cent.

    While the tally of the Samajwadi Party of Mulayam Singh Yadav may slip to 62 and the BSP plunge to 12 per cent to end up third in the race with just 58 seats as against 206 in 2007, the survey shows 2 per cent swing in favour of the BJP to raise its tally in the Assembly from 51 to 89. The report also elaborates on the changed caste equations helping the Congress and the BJP.

    Every one in the Congress gives credit to Rahul Gandhi for pulling the Congress back from the brink by touring the state intensively and toiling hard to make a breakthrough in the caste-ridden state, taking lessons in caste politics from general secretary Digvijaya Singh, a Thakur from the neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.

    Iftikhar Gilani is Special Correspondent with Tehelka.com.
    [email protected]

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    Posted on 15 September 2011



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