The BJP sat pretty at the end of voting Wednesday as exit polls indicated that the party looked all set to form governments in Maharashtra and Haryana, emerging as the lead player in the two states for the first time.
Haryana saw a record turnout of 76 per cent while it was around 64 per cent in Maharashtra. The Election Commission said Maharashtra’s exact turnout was still being calculated.
Exit polls placed the BJP as the largest party in Haryana and, more significantly, in Maharashtra where there was a four-corner fight.
Today’s Chanakya exit poll telecast on News24 channel gave a clear majority to BJP in the two states — 151 of 288 seats in Maharashtra and 52 of 90 seats in Haryana.
The Congress and NCP, which ruled Maharashtra for 15 years before they split ahead of the elections, were projected to lose heavily while the Shiv Sena was being counted as the second largest party. In the last assembly, BJP had 46 seats, Shiv Sena 44, Congress 82, NCP 62 and MNS 13.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigned extensively in Maharashtra, addressing as many as 27 rallies. The BJP deployed many of its central leaders and union ministers as well.
According to C-Voter exit poll, BJP was projected to be the single largest party with 138 seats but could fall short of a majority (145 seats). The Shiv Sena was projected to get 59 seats, Congress 41, NCP 30, MNS 12 and others 8.
The exit poll conducted in Maharashtra by AC Nielsen for ABP news channel gave BJP 144 seats, Shiv Sena 77, Congress 30, NCP 29 and MNS 3.
Today’s Chanakya gave BJP 151 seats in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena 71, Congress 27, NCP 28, and MNS 11. The same pollster projected a clear majority for BJP in Haryana also, giving it 52 of the 90 seats, INLD 23, Congress 10 and others 5.
In the last Haryana assembly, Congress had 40 seats, BJP four, INLD 31, HJC 6 and others 9.
The Election Commission, going by the data available, said Haryana had a record 76 per cent voter turnout. The turnout was higher than the 71.86 per cent that the state recorded in the Lok Sabha polls this year.
Maharashtra, on the other hand, recorded 64 polling, with Mumbai seeing 53 per cent polling, the highest in decades.
Two incidents of violence were reported from Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra. While there was exchange of fire between security forces and Naxalites in one case, a CRPF personnel was injured and had to be airlifted to Nagpur in a mine blast.
In Haryana, reports of skirmishes were reported from 25 places across the state. As many as 30 Electronic Voting Machines had to be replaced before voting began and another 23 had to be replaced once voting got underway due to malfunctioning. As many as 15 VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) machines, too, had to be replaced due to paper jams and other technical problems.