NEW DELHI: The stage is set for counting of votes for assembly polls in Haryana and Maharashtra on Thursday with stakes high for Congress, which could not do well in the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year and also for the BJP, which is incumbent in the two states.
Along with the two states, results will also be declared for assembly bypolls on 51 seats across 17 states and will have political implications for the parties in power.
The results of bypolls to Satara and Samastipur Lok Sabha seats will also be declared on Thursday.
The assembly poll results will also be crucial for the NCP in Maharashtra, which is an ally of Congress, as also for parties such as Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, AIMIM and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi.
In Haryana also, the battle is crucial for regional parties such as the Indian National Lok Dal and the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP). The BSP has also fielded candidates in the two states.
The exit polls have predicted the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena alliance getting elected in Maharashtra but have differed in their projection of a number of seats.
Most exit polls have also predicted a clear victory for BJP in Haryana. One exit poll, however, has said that the two parties are in a close race in the state and none of them would get a majority.
The BJP will create history if it again wins Haryana and returns to power with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.
The assembly elections are the first after the BJP-led government's decisions to repeal Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and a verdict in its favour will give a boost to the party ahead of the winter session of Parliament next month.
A victory will also keep the political momentum with the BJP after its emphatic victory in the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The polls are crucial for Congress which has faced desertions after its second successive debacle in the Lok Sabha polls. A strong performance will help the party in its process of electoral revival.
The BJP has already declared that incumbent chief ministers - Manohar Lal Khattar and Devendra Fadnavis - will continue to lead the governments if the party is voted to power.
The voting took place in the two states and in the bypoll seats on Monday.