x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Disappointing numbers for Congress and Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh

India's ruling Congress Party failed to make a breakthrough in elections in Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous and politically important state, voter surveys say.

A worker washes a statue of Mayawati in Lucknow yesterday.
A worker washes a statue of Mayawati in Lucknow yesterday.

NEW DELHI // India's ruling Congress Party failed to make a breakthrough in elections in Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous and politically important state, voter surveys published yesterday said.

Several voter surveys put the Congress Party, which has led a fractious coalition in New Delhi since the 2009 national election, in fourth position after the staggered elections in Uttar Pradesh ended on Saturday.

The surveys indicated Congress would increase its strength in the 403-seat state assembly from 22 to about 50.

"We all know that exit polls have gone wrong in the past, and this will happen now again," the Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh told the Press Trust of India.

He said the party would win at least 100 seats.

The result follows heavy campaigning by the Gandhi dynasty - Sonia, widow of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, her son and heir apparent Rahul, and her daughter, Priyanka.

Rahul Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that has dominated post-independence Indian politics, spent weeks on the campaign trail in a display widely seen as a test of his prime ministerial potential.

The official results, to be released tomorrow, were also predicted to deliver bad news for Uttar Pradesh's chief minister, Mayawati, and her Bahujan Samaj Party.

Mayawati, who uses only one name, is tipped to lose office as the rival Samajwadi Party makes strong gains in the deeply impoverished state of 200 million people.

Most polls predicted that Samajwadi would fall short of a simple majority.

Several polls, including by television stations Headlines Today, Star News, News24 and India TV, showed similar trends but their accuracy is uncertain.

The survey by Hindi-language channel India TV put Congress and its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal on 39-55 seats, with Samajwadi emerging as the single biggest party with 137-145 seats.