Exit polls give edge to BJP

Exit polls give edge to BJP

Saffron party ahead in UP; Cong, AAP in close race in Punjab

Exit polls give edge to BJP

The BJP could emerge as the single largest party in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Goa, enabling it to come within striking distance of forming governments there, exit polls on the five state elections predicted on Thursday.

In Punjab, however, the Bharatiya Janata Party along with its ally Akali Dal was likely to face a rout. The Congress appeared to hold an edge over the new entrant Aam Aadmi Party to form the next government.

In Manipur, the Congress, which has ruled for the last 15 years, was fighting to retain its hold against a serious challenge posed by the BJP. The most interesting scenario seemed to be emerging in UP where the Bahujan Samaj Party appeared to play a key role in case of a hung Assembly.

None of the exit polls put the Samajwadi Party-Congress at the top in UP while two predictions – India Today-Axis (251-279) and News24-Today's Chanakya (267-303) – gave the BJP a resounding majority. Two others, Times Now-VMR and VDPA Associates, also did not rule out the possibility of the BJP crossing the 202 mark in a 403-member Assembly.

Various polls gave the SP and the Congress seats in the range of 73 to 169, prompting coalition leaders appearing on TV discussions to insist that the actual results on March 11 would be different: they cited such predictions going wrong in the previous elections.

A couple of exit poll do not give the BJP a majority in UP.  They predict that the party will garner 155 to 190 seats in the state Assembly.

The BSP, which went to the polls alone and has 80 MLAs now, has not done well in the seven-phase election with exit polls suggesting that the Mayawati-led party could go as low to fall in the 28-42 range, as predicted by India Today-Axis polls.

However, India News-Cvoter poll has given her a maximum of 81-93 seats.
The first hint of the SP wooing the BSP came from Akhilesh Yadav himself, who indicated in a BBC Hindi interview that he is willing to do business with Mayawati, an arch-rival of the SP, to keep the BJP away from power. However, political analysts said the BJP will not spare any effort in wooing the BSP in a scenario where it is within striking distance of power.

Another player to be watched will be Akhilesh’s uncle Shivpal, with whom he had a running battle in the run-up to the elections. Shivpal has said he will form a party after March 11.

Badals in trouble
Punjab may see the exit of the Badal family from power after 10 years with the ruling Akali Dal-BJP coalition possibly ending up with just four MLAs in a House of 117. The Congress and the new entrant AAP are in a close contest with two polls (C-Voter and VDPA Associates) giving the AAP a majority and one (Axis) giving Congress 62-71 seats.

Only ABP-CSDS-Lokniti gave Akali Dal-BJP a respectable number (19-27) while Today's Chanakya and MRC predicted a neck and neck race.

Uttarakhand exit polls give the BJP a clear edge with all polls except C-Voter giving the saffron party a clear majority in a House of 70 MLAs.

Goa with 40 seats may see a hung Assembly, but the ruling BJP will have an edge over the Congress.