New Delhi: Keeping in line with the trends in other opinion polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is projected to gain a clear edge over the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in terms of vote share in the Lok Sabha elections, according to a survey conducted by the Centre for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) at the University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Endowment in partnership with the Lok Foundation.

The survey predicted the NDA will get 31% of the votes at the national level, while the UPA is projected to manage just 23%.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress party had a maximum vote share of 28.55%, whereas the main opposition BJP had a vote share of 18.8%.

The NDA, which appear to be riding on Narendra Modi’s popularity, is likely to be the favourite of the upper castes, according to a report published in The Hindu newspaper on Wednesday. The report quoting the same survey says 35% of other backward classes (OBCs), 25% scheduled castes (SCs) and 23% scheduled tribes (STs) are likely to back the NDA, while 19% upper castes, 21% OBCs, 21% SCs and 31% STs may support the Congress-led UPA. As much as 35% of the minority Muslims prefer the UPA as opposed to 12% supporting the NDA, the report said.

The study also said Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress is likely to continue its spectacular electoral performance by getting 41% vote share, while the Left Front will get 25%. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is projected to garner 24% vote share in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Samajwadi Party with 20%. The BJP may lead in the state with 29% vote share, while Congress, which has 22 seats in the outgoing Lok Sabha from the state, will be reduced to just 9% of the votes in India’s most populous state.

In Rajasthan, the study said, the BJP may repeat its electoral performance in the recently concluded state elections and get 52% votes, while Congress may get 37%. In Punjab, the BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal combine may bag 51% of the votes and in Madhya Pradesh, the ruling BJP’s vote share could 49%.

In Maharashtra, where the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance has been in power for almost a decade, the BJP-Shiv Sena-Republican Party of India combine may win 45% of the votes and the ruling coalition is likely to get just 32%.

In Bihar, the BJP is expected to be ahead of the Rashtriya Janata Dal with the former bagging 37% and latter with just 17%. It does not say anything about the Janata Dal (United)’s share of votes.

The elections to the 543-member Lok Sabha will be spread over nine phases beginning 7 April. The results would be declared on 16 May.

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