The Samajwadi Party is the frontrunner to form the government in Uttar Pradesh,exit polls on television channels predicted on Saturday evening after voting in the last phase of elections ended.
The Congress,the exit polls agreed,would finish fourth in the state,the high-octane campaign by Rahul Gandhi notwithstanding. The polls,however,predicted a better showing by the Congress elsewhere the party,they said,is set to unseat the BJP in Uttarakhand,and is running neck and neck with the SAD-BJP in Punjab.
The Congress also emerged as the single largest party in Manipur,although it might need the support of the Trinamool Congress,its difficult partner at the Centre,to retain power.
The BJP appears to be leading the race in Goa,but the fight is close,and five-odd seats predicted for the Others could be decisive in the 40-member Assembly.
The BSP emerged as the second largest party in UP in all the polls. The BJP was projected to improve its tally.
Despite all exit polls giving a clear lead to the SP,the actual figures they predicted varied from 141 to 210 in the 403-member assembly. It was not clear from their numbers whether the SP would need the Congresss help to reach the halfway mark. In public statements,the Congress has ruled out extending support.
All polls except CNN-IBN-The Week gave a small but clear majority to the Congress in Punjab. In Uttarakhand,the BJP looked set to fall short of majority,though some exit polls suggested that the Congress would have to muster the support of Independents to come to power. In Goa,India TV-CVoter predicted 18-22 seats for the BJP,15-19 for the Congress and 1-5 seats for Others in the 40-member assembly.
AICC general secretary in charge of UP Digvijaya Singh said on Saturday that Rahul Gandhi could not be blamed if the Congress failed to perform well in UP. A leader creates an atmosphere. To convert that atmosphere into votes and seats is the responsibility of candidates and the organisation, Singh told reporters in Delhi.
He dismissed the exit polls and predicted miraculous results for the Congress in UP. These (exit polls) have always been proved wrong. I throw them in dustbins. You remember how many seats these exit polls had given to the Congress in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
On supporting the SP,Singh said,If we get a majority,we will form the government. If we emerge as the single largest party,we will stake claim to form the government. Otherwise we will sit in the opposition.