All polls predicted that the BSP, which had won 19 seats in 2017, could fare worse in Uttar Pradesh. After the last phase of voting, Monday predicted the return of the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh and a comfortable victory for the AAP in Punjab. The polls forecast a dead-heat race in Uttarakhand and Goa, both ruled by the BJP, signalling the possibility of hanging houses in the two small states. Pollsters also predicted a sweep for the BJP in Manipur, where it is the ruling party.
In Uttar Pradesh, most pollsters bore two forecasts that the ruling BJP may suffer losses but will still cross the halfway mark of 202 comfortably and retain power, bucking a trend of nearly four decades. Since 1985, the state has not returned a government to power. The SP-RLD alliance, which waged a spirited campaign, may make major gains as compared to 2017 but is likely to fall well short of the magic figure. The Congress, the polls predicted, would remain in single digits.
In Punjab, most pollsters gave the AAP numbers much ahead of the ruling Congress and the Akali Dal-BSP combine. If the exit poll predictions hold true and the AAP wins Punjab, the outcome has the potential to trigger a churning in Indian politics, especially in the Opposition space as no other party barring the BJP and the Congress are in power in more than one state now. The AAP surge in Punjab, if the pollsters are correct, is a major setback for the Congress which had played the Dalit card appointing Charanjit Singh Channi as Chief Minister, replacing Amarinder Singh just six months ago and projecting him as the CM face. A defeat for Congress could reignite the factional feud in the state.
In 2017, Congress stormed to power in Punjab, winning 77 of the 117 seats. The AAP, which made its debut last time, came second with 20 seats while the Akali Dal-BJP alliance, which was in power then, could manage to win only 18 seats (Akali Dal 15 and BJP 3). The BJP aligned with former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress.
In Uttarakhand, the opinion polls differed sharply. While some gave the ruling BJP an edge, others predicted that Congress would emerge as the single largest party. None of the polls gave either side over 40 seats. No party has retained power in Uttarakhand since its formation in 2000. If the BJP holds on to power, it will be a record of sorts. In 2017, riding the Modi wave, the BJP won in 57 of the total 70 Assembly seats while it limited the Congress to 11 seats. They won two of the remaining seats by independent candidates who were now with the ruling party.
In Goa too, pollsters predicted a dead-heat race with none of the polls predicting a comfortable victory for either the ruling BJP or the Congress. Most polls predicted the AAP could win a couple of seats. Incidentally, one poll (ABP-C Voter) predicted that the Trinamool Congress would win 5-9 seats which, it turned out to be true, would place it in a king maker’s role. In the 40-member House, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party in 2017, winning 17 seats but the BJP, which won 13 seats, managed to form the government with the support of the Goa Forward Party and the MGP which had won three seats each and two independents.