NEW DELHI: With hardly any Opposition worth the name, pollsters predicted a walkover for the ruling BJP in Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections, where voters cast their ballots on Monday. While Maharashtra registered close to 60.46% turnout, the figure for Haryana was 66%.
Exit poll outcomes suggested a voter brain fog on the Congress that had dominated the political space till 2014. In contrast, people in both the states appeared to have endorsed the nationalism pitch of the BJP, as the Opposition floundered despite pressing local issues and the economic slowdown.
Exit polls indicate the BJP-led Mahayuti in Maharashtra could win between 166 and 243 of the total 288 Assembly seats. The BJP-Shiv Sena had a combined tally of 185 seats in the outgoing Assembly. As for the Congress-NCP alliance, it is predicted to get between 48 and 90 seats. If pollsters have got it right, the BJP-Sena alliance would win a second straight mandate after wresting it from the Congress-NCP combine in 2014. The BJP and the Sena had contested the 2014 state polls separately, winning 122 and 63 seats, respectively. They then forged a post-poll pact to share power.
Counting of votes in both Maharashtra and Haryana will happen on Thursday.Exit polls in Haryana suggested Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar will not only retain power but the BJP will post a better tally — over 70 seats in a 90-member Assembly. When the BJP had first stormed to power in 2014 in Haryana, it managed to win 47 seats by consolidating the non-Jat vote base. It now appears to be drawing Jat votes as well, with the faction-ridden Congress and the disintegrated Indian National Lok Dal not even putting up a half-decent fight. Haryana registered 66% voter turnout till 6 pm in contrast to 76.54% in the 2014 state polls indicating lesser mobilisation by the Opposition.
Exit polls for Haryana
Maharashtra: India Today-Axis My India exit polls
BJP Shiv Sena--230
CNN News 18-IPSOS
BJP Shiv Sena--243
India Today-Axis My India