Sandeshkhali tragedy may impact LS polls in Bengal, says Axis My India CMD Pradeep Gupta: IANS Interview

New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday released its first list of 195 candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The ruling party’s list has come at a time when the opposition’s INDIA bloc is still struggling to arrive at a seat-sharing agreement in several states. So, it is believed that the BJP is in a position to capitalise on first-mover advantage in several states, which understandably augurs well for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘400 plus Lok Sabha seats dream’ for the BJP-led NDA.

In an interview with IANS, Pradeep Gupta, Chairman and MD of Axis My India — country’s renowned Consumer Data Intelligence Company — spoke about some key factors that might impact the poll outcome.

Pradeep Gupta believes that apart from the southern region, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh are the two major states where the BJP has chances to improve its tally as compared to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, BJP had won 62, while NDA had got 64 seats out of total 80 seats in UP. So, there is obviously an “elbow room” for BJP to improve in UP. Similarly, BJP had won 18 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal in the last LS polls. It means the party has tremendous scope to improve its strength in Bengal as well.

When asked about whether the Sandeshkhali incident would enhance BJP’s poll prospects in Bengal, Gupta said that it is a regional issue in the state. “Regional issues affect the entire society and state. Such issues could also make a decisive impact on the elections.” He recalled the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, saying that a cabinet minister’s son was facing some charges there. But it did not harm BJP in the polls that followed the incident. The reason is that such issues impact a limited part of the state. The decisive effect would be felt when the issue assumes a larger national proportion. To another query, the Axis My India boss said that the Sandeshkhali happening might impact the elections in Bengal seats. “But I am not in a position to say how much impact it will create,” he added.

Talking about southern states, Gupta said that BJP has been making massive efforts to lift its electoral fortunes in Kerala for quite some time now. It is static on double digit vote percentage for a long time there. However, the votes could not bring it seats in assembly and Lok Sabha elections earlier in Kerala. This time, some possibility would be there for the BJP in this southern state. It will move ahead from ‘zero’ at least.

Talking about Karnataka, Pradeep Gupta, a renowned psephologist, pointed out that two major changes happened in Karnataka in a period of five years. One, Congress registered an impressive victory in Karnataka in the last assembly elections. The outcome boosted the morale of the Congress party. Two, Congress contested the last Lok Sabha election in alliance with JD(S) when BJP was in power in Karnataka. Both parties could then get one seat each. This time, JD(S) is with the BJP-led NDA. The state is obviously ruled by Congress this time. But the alliance is different now. With this in view, Karnataka would be an interesting state to see during the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.

–IANS

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