- Samajwadi Party workers perform havan ahead of counting
- Exit polls have predicted a victory for BJP in Uttar Pradesh
- Open to post-poll tie-up with BSP if verdict is fractured: Akhilesh Yadav
Exit polls predict that BJP will emerge as the largest party.
Akhilesh Yadav tied up with the Congress and addressed many joint rallies with Rahul Gandhi. Months before the election, the 43-year-old Chief Minister engineered a massive change in his party and took over control from father Mulayam Singh Yadav, who founded the Samajwadi Party. Mulayam Singh largely stayed away from the campaign.
With their fingers crossed, Samajwadi Party workers are praying that their young leader's gamble pays off. Workers also performed rituals in Kanpur.
Akhilesh Yadav pulled off a big win in the previous election.
Amid less-than-encouraging predictions this time, Akhilesh Yadav said on Thursday that all "secular forces" should unite to stop the BJP. After ruling out a post-election tie-up with the other regional heavyweight Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party, he did a u-turn, saying he could explore that possibility if the verdict is fractured. "Nobody wants President's Rule, the BJP to run Uttar Pradesh by remote control," the chief minister told BBC Hindi in an interview.