Exit polls in India hint at victory for premier's party

AAP is seen sweeping the entire Malwa region in Punjab, an area from where it got its four Member of Parliaments in the 2014 General Elections. Despite being a small state with little impact on national politics, retaining Manipur will have more than symbolic value for the Congress.

Punjab is the only outlier where the ruling SAD-BJP allaince is headed for a rout.

While one must add the caveat that exit polls are not final results, one can still draw broader conclusions from the indicated trends.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi are predicted to win somewhere between 88 to 112 seats while Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party will be a distant third with anywhere between 28 to 42 seats.

In Punjab, there was unanimity that Akali Dal-BJP combine would face a meltdown, but no consensus emerged on whether Congress or Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party would finish in the front.

As mandated by the Election Commission, exit poll results can not be announced by news agencies till 5:30pm on March 9. In the past two elections, the BSP and SP even attained majorities by themselves. CNN-News18-Gramener projected 25 seats for the BJP and 24 for the Congress.

Leaders of all parties, in private conversations, are afraid of seeing a hung house. Things got ugly as accusations were hurled at politicians by other politicians, calling them "defectors", "ISI funded", "drama-queens".

What first-time voters want from this election is not a party that comes to power and puts the party first, but one puts Punjab first and generates employment. The vote count is due on Saturday. Arvind Kejriwal's theatrics may not have persuaded the local voters and while the BJP is expected to sink in the agricultural belt owing to a strong anti-incumbency against its senior ally Shiromani Akali Dal, the Congress is likely to get a boost, despite its poor state of affairs across the nation.

Different pollsters either have a very contrasting prediction on who will form a government, or the fight is so intense that they simply give an equal chance to two parties.

The BJP would need to win 202 seats to secure a majority in the 403-seat assembly in Uttar Pradesh, where voting ended on Wednesday nearly a month after the first of seven voting phases kicked off.

There are 403 seats up for grabs in the state's assembly.

Political observers have also pointed out how Sampla's predecessor Kamal Sharma refrained from contesting because he apprehended that he would not be considered as a candidate for the seat he wanted to contest and this could be embarrassing in the long run.

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  • Leroy Wright