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.
EC lets off Beni
NEW DELHI: With Beni Prasad Verma expressing regret over his remarks,which invited a code violation notice from the EC,and BJP not pressing the matter further,the poll panel on Saturday let off the Steel Minister with a caution. Considering the fact that even the complainants have chosen not to press for further action,the Commission has decided not to pursue the matter, the EC said in its order,adding that it hoped Beni would be careful in future.
Charges framed against Geelani aide
NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Saturday framed charges against Ghulam Mohd Bhat,a close aide of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani,and three others who were arrested for allegedly running a hawala racket to fund the Hizbul Mujahideen in Kashmir. Their trial will start on March 16. District Judge H S Sharma framed charges under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against Bhat,Mohd Siddiq Ganai,Ghulam Jeelani Liloo and Farooq Ahmed Dagga,who are presently lodged in Tihar jail.