A survey conducted earlier this month by THE WEEK-Hansa Research predicted the BJP to win the battleground state, while a separate survey by Axis-My-India for the India Today Group also projected a BJP majority there. BofAML however offered a more pessimistic take on the BJP's chances in Uttar Pradesh, noting that the race was split three-ways with the SP and BSP.
A BJP loss in the all-important state could result in several long-term consequences.
If SP candidate—current chief minister Akhilesh Yadav—wins, SP will take a more prominent role in opposing Modi's agenda in New Delhi, with Yadav emerging as "a meaningful political threat to the BJP as a national leader and potential alternative to Modi," political consultancy Eurasia said in a note.
If the low caste-centric BSP is victorious, that would imply caste and identity politics remain a major issue in India, which could result in the BSP having less bearing on the BJP and national politics, Eurasia explained.
To boost its chances, Modi's administration was expected to unveil voter-friendly policies in its annual budget on Wednesday, which strategically preceded the polls. For the 2017-2018 fiscal year, finance minister Arun Jaitley did announce a number of populist measures, including more investment on rural development and infrastructure.
"The mere potential of voter backlash raised the prospects of a populist budget," said Zalewski.