Various exit polls released on Thursday showed the BJP doing well in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and even Manipur, with the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party locked in a tough contest in Punjab.
However, the numbers given by the exit polls varied widely, suggesting convergences only in broad trends.
In Uttar Pradesh, where five polls — India News MRC, Times Now VMR, ABP Lokniti CSDS, India TV-C Voter and India Today Axis — showed the BJP as leading the race, the saffron party’s projected tally varied from 155 to 279 seats. The SP-Congress tally varied from 88 to 169 seats, while the BSP was shown winning just between 28 and 93 seats.
Even as three out of the five polls predicted a hung Assembly, with the BJP in the lead, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav extended a hand of alliance to the BSP, saying in an interview to BBC Hindi that none wanted President’s rule in the State.
“Will do anything to keep the BJP out. An alliance with BSP would be better than President’s rule in U.P.,” he said adding that he doesn’t want a situation where the BJP “controls U.P. through remote control.” After a nasty election campaign and numerous verbal spats, he went to the extent of saying that he “always respected Mayawati.”
The exit polls showed the State witnessing a tight contest between the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress, with India Today Axis poll showing the Congress ahead with 62-71 out of 117 seats and India TV- CVoter showing the AAP ahead with 59-67 seats. India News MRC and News 24 Today’s Chanakya showed both having exactly the same number of seats.
All polls showed a huge defeat for the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine.
Three polls — News 24 Today’s Chanakya, India Today Axis and India News MRC — showed the BJP winning the State. India TV- CVoter showed both the parties tied at 29-35 seats.
The India TV-CVoter poll also showed the BJP surging ahead of the Congress in Manipur, where the Congress has ruled for 15 years and the saffron party has hardly any base. It showed the BJP winning 25-31 of the 60 seats, with the Congress trailing at 17-23 seats.
In the past, exit polls have often gone way off the mark. In the last Bihar Assembly elections, for instance, the BJP-led alliance and the JD(U)-RJD-Congress were seen locked in a close contest by most polls. The results, however, saw the grand alliance winning 178 seats out of 243 and the BJP’s alliance reduced to 59.