2017 assembly polls have been announced and the model code of conduct has been put in place. The penultimate round has begun and the centre of attraction of this mammoth exercise is Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state with maximum number of Lok Sabha (80), Rajya Sabha (31) and assembly seats (403), that makes it the nerve centre of Indian politics.

The state has three major political forces:

The Samajwadi Party (SP), the ruling party of the moment with its chief minister Akhilesh Yadav looking to retain the UP power corridors after completing his five years in the office. He is facing huge anti-incumbency and an acerbic family feud to control power in his party and looks pitted against senior leaders of the party including his father Mulayam Singh Yadav.

The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), the ruling party of the nation under prime minister Narendra Modi, has a mixed bag of credentials to go for in this election. While the party registered spectacular win in the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, winning 71 out of 80 seats, it failed to capitalize on that and has lost every bypoll in the state after the feat of 2014 LS polls. Also, it has no CM candidate to project like the other two major parties.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the party that was in power for a complete five years before Akhilesh took over. Mayawati’s BSP has been in power in UP many times – including having power sharing arrangements with the BJP. In fact, the 2007-2012 Mayawati government was the first government in UP to complete five years in the office.

The electoral contest this time is going to be triangular and will be centred on these three political parties.

There are some minor political forces but they will not leave any impact apart from increasing the number of parties and candidates, making the elections thus more colourful. We can keep the Indian National Congress in this league. In spite of the intense efforts by Rahul Gandhi, the party is almost dead in a state that it ruled for some 30 years.

So, who is going to win these polls?


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