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Assembly Election 2017: The BJP wave is gone but it has pushed the party to pole position

The big takeaway from exit polls: the confusion continues in Uttar Pradesh. Only one poll suggests a sweep for the BJP and one a simple majority. In most places it's ahead of the competition but short of the magic halfway mark. All of them place the BSP at a poor third. It is interesting, given in earlier elections at least more than one such polls stuck their neck out to give some party a resoundingly loud number.

So what gives? The initial assessment of the results in the state remains largely unchanged. The Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance was expected to witness a dip in numbers given the factors of anti-incumbency, the SP first family power struggle and a hurriedly-stitched alliance. The BJP was expected to perform somewhere in between the 2012 state elections and the 2014 general elections.  The case of the BSP is a bit confusing. Even at its worst it was expected to secure at least 100 seats. Most pollsters give it a far lesser number. Otherwise, UP throws up no surprises.

 Assembly Election 2017: The BJP wave is gone but it has pushed the party to pole position

Representational image. Reuters

In Punjab, it was expected to be a keen Congress vs Aam Aadmi Party contest from the beginning. The ruling Akali Dal-BJP combine was fighting a losing battle given the slump in its popularity. The exit polls, barring one, predict a hung assembly with neither of the top contenders securing a clear majority in the 117-member house. Whatever the final result, the emergence of AAP is the big story from the state. The single-digit to lower double-digit numbers given to the Akali Dal is a bit suspicious though. It still has its pocket boroughs, particularly in rural Punjab, and has rarely done badly there. If it has lost in these seats then the electoral loss could be of permanent nature.

The small state of Goa has always been susceptible to unclear verdicts and hung houses. The trend, as the exit polls suggest, is likely to continue. If debutant AAP manages even the lowest double-digit number - 10 seats - or a few less it can play king-maker in the small assembly. So its performance should not be judged from the point of view of loss and victory alone. It could be in a position to make or break governments. So like Punjab, it has arrived in Goa as a genuine political player.

In Uttarakhand, the margin of seats between the victor and the vanquished is usually wafer thin. The vote share also remains close between the main contenders - the BJP and the Congress. This time, as the exit polls suggest, the BJP is likely to get a clear upper hand. A vote share gap of nearly 10 percent would be insurmountable for the Congress for a long time. This state will be one genuine loss for the Congress in this round of elections. If the gap is only in seats it can claw back. However, let's not jump the gun yet. Some polls suggest an equal fight.

The Manipur picture remains unclear with different polls throwing up different numbers for the Congress and the BJP. But whatever the number, the BJP would have planted its foot firmly in one more North-Eastern state.
However, it's better to wait for the counting day. Exit polls are known to get it all wrong.

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Updated Date: Mar 09, 2017 22:37:58 IST