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BJP Retains UP, AAP Sweeps Punjab, Exit Polls Say

Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will sweep Punjab and Uttar Pradesh will stay firmly with the BJP, a poll of exit polls predicted today after voting ended for state elections that are seen to be the semi-final ahead of the 2024 national election.

A health warning – exit polls often get it wrong.

The counting of votes will take place on Thursday (March 10).

An average of 10 polls predicts a remarkable win for AAP in its first major state, Punjab. The poll of exit polls gives AAP 63 seats in 117-seat Punjab, with the majority mark at 59. The ruling Congress is set to finish second with 28 seats in the assembly, the polls show.

The party has been trying to make a mark outside Delhi, where it has been in power since 2015. This time, the party even picked a chief ministerial candidate, Bhagwant Singh Mann, after an unusual public poll.

The exit polls suggest the Congress may pay the price for intense infighting in Punjab, where Navjot Singh Sidhu clashed with veteran Amarinder Singh as well as the man who replaced him, Charanjit Singh Channi.

The BJP, which is tied up with Amarinder Singh, may still remain a minor player in Punjab, with its former ally, Akali Dal, predicted to win 19 seats.

In Uttar Pradesh, the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP is likely to score a second straight win, signal five exit polls. An aggregate gives the BJP and its allies 230 of the state’s 403 seats – the majority-mark is at 202 – with Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party limited at 151.

For Uttarakhand, a poll of 11 exit polls predicts a close fight, with the BJP marginally ahead but both the ruling party and the Congress within striking distance of power. The BJP could win 35 seats and the Congress 32, say exit polls.

The poll of exit polls also foresees a neck-and-neck verdict in Goa, with the BJP and the Congress both tipped to win 16 of the state’s 40 seats, both below the majority mark of 21. Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool is given three seats by 10 exit polls, which suggests that it could play kingmaker in a fight for majority. The 2017 election saw the Congress failing to take power despite emerging the single-largest.

The BJP is set to win the most seats in Manipur, says an average of six exit polls. The BJP is likely to win 30 seats in the 60-seat assembly, the exit polls say – just one below the majority mark. The Congress may win 13 seats, they say.

The last round of voting in Uttar Pradesh today wrapped month-long polling in UP, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand.

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