The second to last phase of the Uttar Pradesh elections begins tomorrow. Polling will take place in districts of the northern part of the Purvanchal region, which include Deoria and Gorakhpur. Purvanchal, the closest region to Bihar, used to be its poorest as well.

The final results will be announced next week and rumors abound. While a few weeks ago, the rumors had Akhilesh and the SP-Congress Alliance winning, talk on the street is of more of a landslide BJP victory these days. The mood seems to have changed, but then how much credit should we give to these rumors? After all, polls in the US had predicted a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate. The BJP has never done exceedingly well in UP, for a lot of reasons, but what if the polls had gotten it wrong? They did get it wrong in Bihar two years ago, and by a lot. Mayawati’s strategy of wooing the Muslim vote represents a real danger for the SP-Congress alliance. By threatening to divide the Muslim vote, it could dramatically affect the SP’s chances. And under the First-Past-The-Post system, this could create real opportunities for the BJP. After all, under FPTP, all you need to win is a plurality of votes.

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