UPA has edge, Congress to emerge largest party, says survey
Mumbai, April 10 (IANS) The ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) will have a significant edge in the Lok Sabha elections and the Congress is poised to emerge as the single largest party, according to a survey.
The Week/CVoter nationwide survey, released here Friday, says that the UPA is set to bag around 234 seats, helping the Congress win around 144 seats.
The survey, details of which were made available to IANS here Friday, will be published in the forthcoming issue of The Week magazine that hits the stands Saturday.
However, the lead may not be good enough to avoid a hung parliament, revealed the survey, carried out in 221 Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 24 states.
On the other hand, the National Democratic Alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will bag around 186 seats; the BJP would have the lion's share of around 140 seats.
However, the prospects are considered bleak for the Third Front with a projected 112 seats. The Left parties are likely to lose a significant chunk owing to poor performance in states like West Bengal and Kerala.
The Janata Dal-United (JD-U) could make significant gains in Bihar thanks to the breakdown of the UPA alliance there. While the NDA will bag 25 of the 40 seats in that state, the Congress is expected to draw a blank.
In the largest state, Uttar Pradesh, the national parties are expected to fare pathetically with the rival regional parties - Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) set to bag nearly three-fourths of the total seats and the BSP is likely to eat into the SP's share.
In Maharashtra, the differences within the saffron combine of Shiv Sena-BJP would help the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) retain its existing 23 seats from the total 48 in the state.
Even neighbouring Gujarat may not experience a saffron-wave and despite Modi's supremacy, the Congress may get 8 seats, ther survey showed.
However, the BJP will get solace from a projected good show in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where it performed well in the last assembly elections.
In Andhra Pradesh and Delhi, the Congress is riding high on the popularity of its chief ministers Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and Sheila Dixit. In Delhi, it is expected to bag six seats and in Andhra, 26, the survey said.
In Rajasthan, the Congress will continue with the good show of the last assembly elections and may bag 14 of the total 25 seats.
Despite a direction-less party apparatus, the Congress could put up a decent show in Karnataka, with an expected tally of 8, against the BJP's 18 and the Janata Dal-Secular's (JD-S) two seats.
But in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, the Congress-DMK alliance may lose a significant number of seats. While the AIADMK is likely to bag 24, the DMK may get 13 and Congress two.
Among the probable candidates for the country's top executive job, BJP's L.K. Advani is favoured by 15 percent of the 30,318 respondents who took part in the survey.
However, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was right behind at 14 percent, with Congress president Sonia Gandhi at 11 percent and her son Rahul at 10 percent.
The issues that are uppermost on peoples' minds include the economic slowdown, followed by internal security and terrorism.
As many as 37 percent of the respondents surveyed felt that the UPA can handle these issues effectively.
The Lok Sabha polls will be held in five phases, from April 16 to May 13.
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