Elections 2019: It’s PM popularity versus caste math

After close to six weeks of electioneering, 13 parliamentary constituencies in eastern Uttar Pradesh will vote in the seventh and final phase on 19 May. It’s a three-corner contest with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) going head to head with the newly formed alliance between arch rivals Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and the Congress bringing up the rear. (READ MORE)

Elections 2019: Clean ghats not enough, Varanasi wants jobs

The election may be drawing to a close but in Varanasi, campaigning has reached fever pitch. The constituency from which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is contesting again goes to the polls on Sunday, and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including Amit Shah, Sushma Swaraj and Piyush Goyal, as well as Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav are on the ground canvassing for their candidates.

For Ranjit Nishad, an 18-year-old boatman on the Ganga in Varanasi, Modi’s presence is not just a matter of pride but also a source of hope. “The ghats are clean, we get 24x7 power and the law and order situation has improved. Things have changed for the better in the last five years. But two things remain—no jobs, and the Ganga is still polluted," he said. (READ MORE)

Elections 2019: In Yogi’s backyard, it’s Modi who draws votes

Prakash has spent three days at Gorakhpur’s infamous Baba Raghav Das Medical College, where his father is undergoing treatment for a heart ailment. The hospital made headlines worldwide in August 2017 after the lack of oxygen supply led to the death of 63 children in four days. Prakash is rather relaxed now as his father’s condition has improved.

He and his three brothers are discussing the chances behenji (Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati) has against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Being scheduled castes, they’ve grown up hearing the refrain “inka vote to waheen jaayega (their vote will go to Mayawati)". They intend to change that.“There is a difference between five and 60 years. Give the man some more time, his heart is in the right place," Prakash said. (READ MORE)

Elections 2019: How the SP-BSP combine could cut into NDA’s tally

By all accounts, it is not a question of “whether", but of “how many". In Uttar Pradesh, which elects 80 of the 543 parliamentarians in India, the question is not whether the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will lose some of the 71 seats it won in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The question is how many seats the BJP is likely to lose in Uttar Pradesh compared to that stunning performance of 2014.

A Mint analysis of the Lok Sabha numbers looked at four possible scenarios. It factored in the results of elections to the Uttar Pradesh state assembly held in early 2017—which too was swept by the BJP, though less emphatically—and an erosion of votes that incumbents generally tend to see over time. (READ MORE)

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