- BJP could get 49 out 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh, poll of exit polls shows
- Akhilesh Yadav-Mayawati alliance may get 29, Congress 2
- Voting for 7-phase elections ended on Sunday, results on May 23
The Grand Alliance of Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati may fail to live up to their expectation of stopping the BJP march through Uttar Pradesh-- the state that sends the maximum number of lawmakers to parliament -- predicted exit polls on Sunday. But of all the opposition parties and state-level alliances, they could fare the best, taking a substantial bite out of the 73 seats the BJP and its ally Apna Dal won in 2014, an aggregate of eight exit polls predicted.
The poll of polls gives 49 seats to the BJP and its ally Apna Dal, and 29 seats to the alliance.
The best scenario for the BJP has been predicted by the Times Now-VMR, which gives it 58 seats, followed closely by the Republic-Jan Ki Baat, which gives it an outer limit of 57. The lowest estimate is from ABP News-Nielson, which gives it 22 seats and 56 to the SP-BSP combine.
Health warning: Exit polls often get it wrong.
Even the best scenario predicted in Uttar Pradesh will be huge comedown for the BJP, which in 2014, won 73 of the state's 80 seats along with ally Apna Dal. In that election, the Samajwadi Party won five and the Congress 2 seats -- that of Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi in Amethi and Rae Bareli.
The Congress showing has not improved, the poll of polls predict, despite a huge effort by the party. It had contested most of the state's 80 seats, and pushed in Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, billed as its secret weapon, to handle the crucial eastern Uttar Pradesh.
The BJP's National Vice President Vinay Sahasrabudhe, who claimed that nationally, the exit poll figures confirmed their expectations, told NDTV that the Mahagathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh has proved a failure.
"The SP and the BSP failed to transfer votes to each other and the division within the main opposition parties had come as an advantage for the BJP," he said.
While a division of non-BJP votes with the solo entry of Congress was expected by many, the party and the alliance had both denied the possibility. Both sides said the Congress could only split the upper caste votes, which traditionally go to the BJP.