Counting of votes for Indian Assembly elections in five states begins
The counting of votes in all five poll-bound states including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, and Goa began on Thursday morning at 8:00am.
The elections occurred in 690 assembly constituencies in the above-mentioned five states. The counting of electronic voting machines (EVM) will commence at 8.30am.
Assembly elections were held in Uttar Pradesh from 10 February to 7 March in seven phases. Goa and Uttarkhand went to the polls on 14 February. Assembly polls in Punjab were held on 20 February. Assembly polls in Manipur were conducted in two phases on 28 February and 5 March.
The Bharatiya Janata Party which is the incumbent in four states has been predicted to win in Uttar Pradesh and Manipur and has been projected as leading in Uttarakhand. In Goa there is a close contest with the Congress.
In the 403-member Uttar Pradesh assembly, the majority mark is 202 and the exit polls predicted that the BJP is poised to comfortably return to power with its allies for an unprecedented second term with most of them stating that the party's tally would be less than that in 2017 elections when it had scored a landslide victory.
The Samajwadi Party (SP), which fought the polls with RLD and some other parties, would improve its performance, the exit polls predicted.
Exit polls predicted a clear victory for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the 117-member Punjab Assembly with the scale of the party's victory varying across various surveys.
Several surveys predicted Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, which is in power in Delhi, getting a landslide victory.
The surveys also predicted that the ruling Congress will finish a distant second in the state followed by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) which had allied with Bahujan Samaj Party.
The BJP and its allies are not predicted to do well, according to the surveys. If the results come as per the prediction of exit polls, it will be the first time that AAP will come to power in Punjab.
The multi-cornered contest in Goa could lead to a hung assembly verdict, exit polls predicted with some of them putting the BJP ahead but some also stating that Congress would the single-largest party close to the halfway mark in the 40-member state assembly.
The exit polls predicted a close race in Uttarakhand, with many of them giving an edge to the BJP to form the government. Some exit polls also predicted that Congress would finish ahead and could cross the halfway mark in the 70-member Assembly.
The exit polls in Manipur gave a clear edge to the ruling BJP in forming the next government with many of them predicting that it may fall short of the halfway mark. The majority mark is 31 for the 60-member Manipur Assembly.