Phase 5: It’s Crunch Time for the BJP

With just 49 seats up for voting, Phase 5 may be the smallest of all phases of this election, but it can have a disproportionate impact on the outcome of this election. The buzz around this phase is not just because it contains a few of the most prestigious contests but also that the BJP can suffer serious reverses in a few of the states.

This phase contains the politically prestigious and important constituencies of Rae Bareli, Amethi and Faizabad (Ayodhya) in Uttar Pradesh, Saran (once Chhapra) and Hajipur in Bihar, and all the six seats of India’s financial capital or mayanagri (city of deams), Mumbai.

Just like phase 3, in this round too, the NDA stands to lose ground due to the sheer number of seats it had won the last time – 39 of the 49 seats, of which the BJP alone had won 32. The INDIA alliance’s count in 2019 had stopped at eight. It can look forward to almost doubling its 2019 tally, if we just consider the leads it had in assembly segments in state elections post-2019. There are ground indications that they can go beyond this as well and gain as much as one fourth of seats going to polls.

The gap of 31 seats that existed between the two alliances going into this phase can get nearly halved to 17, but this can go much further. The largest chunk of gain of seats will come from Uttar Pradesh.

In UP 14 constituencies spread across four regions –  Awadh, Purvanchal, Doab and Bundelkhand are going to the polls. INDIA can possibly pick up the most number of seats in this phase in UP. In 2019, the BJP had won 13 of these seats and the Congress Rae Bareli.  However, if the 2022 assembly election vote shares get repeated this time, then the Congress will retain not only Rae Bareli from where Rahul Gandhi is contesting but pick up the Amethi and Barabanki seats as well. Congress’ senior partner in the State, the Samajwadi Party, also has a chance to make some significant gains. Akhilesh Yadav’s party had not won a single seat from this round in 2019 but if voters maintain their Vidhan Sabha election preferences, then it can win up to 3 seats – Kaushambi in the Poorvanchal region, Fatehpur in Doab, and Banda in Bundelkhand.

The fifth phase in UP will also see the constituency of Faizabad voting, of which Ayodhya is a part. It will be interesting to see if voter turnout rises here and in the surrounding areas, as thus far voting has been lower than 2019 in other parts of the state that have gone to the polls.

Mahasrashtra asli-naqli battle:

In Maharashtra, the election ends tomorrow though it will not be until the results next fortnight, that the asli-naqli battle between the Uddhav Sena and Shinde Sena and the NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) and NCP (Ajit Pawar) gets decided.  The battle sites are the greater Mumbai region, the onion-capital of India – the Nasik region and the  once thriving but now troubled handloom-hub of Malegaon-Dhule.

The contest in Mumbai City and Thane is almost existential for Uddhav and Shinde Senas and the Bhiwandi and Dindori seats will indicate if the NCP ( Sharadchandra Pawar) can extend further than its Western Maharashtra strongholds.

The Uddhav Sena has, for the first time stitched up a seemingly unlikely Double-M combination (Marathi manoos and Muslims); against its principle antagonist – the current BJP leadership it has revived an old-faultline – that between Maharashtrians and Gujaratis that dates back to the Samyukta Maharashtra movement.

The Double-M combination seems reasonably coherent on the ground at the moment and has numbers on its side in five of the six Mumbai Constituencies. The chemistry within it is Uddhav Thackeray’s image as a sincere, moderate leader. His 2.5 year-CM-ship between 2019-22 was perceived by minority communities, in both words and action, as fair and non-discriminatory. In Mumbai, a majority of the MLAs and much of the cadre has stuck to the Uddhav Sena, which should translate to a gain in seats for his party and hence, INDIA.

In West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand, there are chances of small gains for INDIA. In Bihar, RJD is seeking to revive its base in its former stronghold, Chhapra (now Saran), but the couple of seats in Mitilanchal are favourable for the NDA so is late Ram Vilas’ Paswan’s constituency of Hajipur, which is being contested by his son, a BJP-ally.

In West Bengal, out of the seven seats of North Parganas, Hoogly and Howrah that are to vote, the BJP seems to be in some danger in Barackpur and Hooghly going by the 2021 assembly poll results but could snatch the Aramgabh from the Trinamool.

In Jharkhand, INDIA hopes to prevail in Koderma, where a sitting CPI(MLL) MLA is the candidate.  Jailed ex-CM Hemant Soren’s wife Kalpana Soren is also contesting an assembly bypoll from one of Koderma’s assembly constituencies

In Odisha, the BJP is hoping to hold on to the gains it made in 2019. Five Lok Sabha seats and 35 assembly seats, including the two being contested by five-term chief minister Naveen Patnaik, will vote in this phase. Out of the five Lok Sabha seats, three – Bargah, Sundargarh and Bolangir, located in the Western part of the state were won by BJP in 2019 and two – Kandhamal and Aska in central Odisha, by the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and it is likely that this pattern will hold.

The Baramula seat of Jammu and Kashmir and the Ladakh seat will also be voting in phase. In Baramulla National Conference’s Omar Abdullah is facing a tough three-way contest due to the entry of Engineer Rashid who is contesting from jail. In Ladakh, which till recently was being considered a shoe-in for INDIA, the Kargil workers of both the NC and INC have rebelled against the fielding of a candidate from Leh: this has meant that  the independent candidate from Kargil is on a strong wicket, as Leh votes will get split between the INDIA and NDA candidates.

All in all, however, phase five is crunch time for the BJP.  In our estimation the BJP-led alliance has already lost about 40 seats in the first four phases and is likely to lose nearly as many going forward. If the BJP cannot stem this trend of losses from Phase 5 onwards, it is almost certain to lose its majority come June 4, at least on its own.


2019 Seats Position and Adjusted Position


Phase 5






Uttar Pradesh 14 13 (-5) 1 (+2) 0 (+3)
Maharashtra 13 6 5 0 (+1) 2 (-1)
West Bengal 7 3 (-1) 4 (+1)
Bihar 5 3 (-1) 2 0 (+1)
Odisha 5 3 2
Jharkhand 3 3
J&K 1 1
Ladakh 1 1
Total 49 32 (-7) 7 1 (+3) 7 (+4) 2
  39 (-7) 8 (+7) 2

Note: Figures in brackets denote change in seat positions after calculating parliamentary constituency leads based on Vidhan Sabha election results. Adjustment takes into account current seat distribution within NDA and INDIA.

For Maharashtra, Shiv Sena and NCP’s Vidhan Sabha vote shares were evenly distributed between NDA and INDIA.

2 Constituencies won by Shiv Sena-UBT MPs are in INDIA party column since they are now seats that INDIA has to defend.

For Uttar Pradesh, RLD’s Vidhan Sabha election vote share was included in NDA

For J&K and Ladakh, Lok Sabha 2019 result considered as Vidhan Sabha elections were not held.