New Delhi: The Assembly Election Results in five states, including the politically significant Uttar Pradesh, will be declared today. The counting of votes from the state polls held in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur began today at 8 am.
Most of the exit polls have predicted a clear victory for the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh and Manipur, an edge in Uttarakhand, and a close contest in Goa. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) could make a huge leap in Punjab as exit polls have suggested a massive victory, with one pollster predicting up to 111 for Arvind Kejriwal's party in 117-member assembly.
Congress will be betting against the exit poll results for Punjab, where it is incumbent, and hoping that the neck-to-neck fight in Goa and Uttarakhand, as predicted by the pollsters, turn out in its favour.
The assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh - held in seven phases over a month - witnessed a high-octane campaign between the ruling BJP and Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party. Seeking to override anti-incumbency, the BJP raised issues like law-and-order problems during the Samajwadi Party government and dubbed its rivals as "dynasts living in palaces and moving in big cars".
Meanwhile, the BSP, which led a low-key campaign, for the most part, targeted the rivals on issues of inflation, poverty, unemployment and stray cattle menace.
In Punjab, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has emerged as a big challenger to the Congress which is riddled by infighting. Other contenders in the poll battle include the Shiromani Akali Dal and former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh's Punjab Lok Congress, which has joined hands with the BJP.
The hill state of Uttarakhand witnessed a three-pronged contest with the ruling BJP, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party vying for power in the 70-seat assembly.
The Assembly polls in Goa were held in a single phase this time and all 40 constituencies voted the same day. With defections and horse-trading emerging as a key poll issue in the state, several parties, including Congress, have made attempts to safeguard their candidates.
In Manipur, the BJP has gone solo and contested all seats alone. Congress, on the other hand, has allied with six political parties and named it Manipur Progressive Secular Alliance.