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UP polls: How clean was SP’s ‘clean sweep’ last time?

Lucknow: Did the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) score a clean sweep in the 2012 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections that catapulted the party to its place of pride?

Though SP romped home with 224 of the 403 Assembly seats, its show was not distributed across the length and breadth of the vast state.

SP almost swept the Yadav heartland in central UP, bagging 76 of 98 seats in that region, but it finished behind BSP in Bundelkhand, considered a stronghold of Mayawati.

The battle was almost evenly poised in western UP, with the two regional parties sharing honours with 29 (SP) and 28 (BSP) seats respectively.

In eastern UP, the SP did fairly well. Backed by the sizeable population of Yadavs and Kurmis in the region, SP won 85 seats.

Mayawati’s social engineering paid dividends in 2007 when her BSP got 79 out of 150 seats from Poorvanchal that year. But, it was not action replay for her party. From 79, BSP’s tally plummeted to 25 seats last time.

On closer scrutiny of the voting pattern, it emerges that central UP was the decider. The ‘bicycle’ left others miles behind in the Awadh region.

Although SP has always done well in the belt in the Yadav bastions of Etawah and Mainpuri, its 2012 performance beat even its own expectations. It won 76 out of the 98 seats with a massive 34.4 percent vote share.

SP dished out a scintillating performance in Rohilkhand too by winning 29 out of the 52 seats. The BSP could not do well in the region, which includes Bareilly, Rampur, Pilibhit, Shahjahanpur Budaun.

Drought-hit and backward Bundelkhand was the only region where the SP had to face a setback.

BJP had tried a coup by roping in former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharati as a candidate from Mahoba. She could barely save her own seat. And, it was BSP that retained the top position.

Western UP saw a fierce fight between the SP and the BSP. Traditionally, the area has been a stronghold of the BSP with just pockets of influence for the BJP and the RLD.

But, the SP came up with another splendid show, winning 29 of the 84 seats. The BSP won 28 seats and the BJP 12.

The results showed an overwhelming support of Muslim voters in favour of the SP.

PTI