New Delhi: Counting of votes for Assemblies of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram would be held today. The verdict is likely to throw up some surprises with the exit polls predicting a hung Assembly in both Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh while Rajasthan is likely to go to the Congress this time. In Telangana, caretaker Chief Minister KC Rao is likely to return to power while in Mizoram, the Congress is likely to be unseated by the MNF. Also Read - Yearender 2018: From Losing Grip Over Hindi Heartland to Vajpayee's Demise, How 2018 Turned Nightmarish For BJP
If the Congress manages to upset its dominant rival in these assembly polls, then it will be a big boost to the opposition for the Lok Sabha polls, while a good show by the BJP will give a fillip to its hopes of retaining the power at the Centre in 2019. Also Read - Assembly Elections 2018: BJP Steps up Prep, Amit Shah Reworks 'Ajey BJP' Campaign
Madhya Pradesh: This BJP-ruled state with 230+1 (nominated) assembly constituencies went to polls on November 28. The Congress is the main Opposition in the state with BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan heading the state since 2008. Chouhan has won two successive elections, keeping him in power for more than 12 years. Also Read - Assembly Elections 2018: Congress Chief Ministers to Discuss Cabinet With Party Chief Rahul Gandhi
In Madhya Pradesh, the majority mark is 116 for the 230-seat Assembly. Of the many exit polls, some have given the BJP a majority; others have easily predicted the Congress crossing the majority mark or being a few seats less. Even so, the difference in the number of seats predicted for the two parties isn’t too big.
A day ahead of the results, the Chief Electoral Officer in the state directed that there will be no webcasting during the counting of votes. Madhya Pradesh went to polls on November 28 while the counting of votes will take place on December 11. He has also directed that WiFi will not be used in the counting hall and CCTV cameras will be installed, ANI reported.
Chhattisgarh: This state, ruled by the BJP for the past 15 years, had polls in two phases. Voting was held on November 12 and 20. In the first phase, 18 Assembly constituencies which come under 12 districts of Maoist-affected South Chhattisgarh went to polls, while in phase II, voting was held in 72 constituencies of remaining 78 districts of North Chhattisgarh on November 20.
During the first phase of voting, security forces were engaged in two encounters in Bijapur. Police said five CoBRA personnel were injured in the encounters. Naxals detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) in Katekalyan area of Dantewada, but no harm was reported.
In the 90-member assembly, the majority mark is 46. While Times Now-CNX gave a simple majority to the BJP and the ABP said the saffron party would fare way better than the Congress, India-Today Axis predicted that the Congress would end Chief Minister Raman Singh’s 15-year-old reign by winning anywhere between 55-65 seats. Maha Exit Poll predicted 42 for the BJP, 43 seats for the Congress and 5 for Others.
Rajasthan: The state is likely to go to the Congress this time, if exit poll results translate into actual votes for the party.The state recorded a voter turnout of 74 per cent. Apart a few clashes, polling passed off peacefully.
The majority mark is 101 out of the 200 seats. Zee News Maha Exit poll gave the grand old party 109 seats; others have also given the Congress a majority except for the Republic which predicted 91 seats for it. The BJP, in contrast, was predicted to get anywhere between 80 and 90 seats in all exit polls.
Exit poll results notwithstanding, arch rivals BJP and the Congress have both claimed they would be forming the next state government. While the BJP claimed it would get a majority in the state, the Congress said it will go past the numbers predicted by the poll of polls.
Telangana: The KC Rao-led TRS is likely to be back in the saddle, said exit polls. In what experts are calling a smart move on the part of KCR, the 119-member Assembly was dissolved on September 6 more than eight months ahead of the expiry of the term.
That paved the way for an early elections. Going it alone in the polls, the TRS fielded 107 candidates. The party announced most candidates within minutes of the dissolution of the Assembly, getting a jumpstart in the campaign.
The main Opposition, the Congress announced the formation of a ‘Praja Kutami'(grand alliance) with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) headed by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, the Telangana Jana Samiti and the Communist Party of India.
The majority mark in the state assembly is 60 and most exit polls gave the TRS way above that. The projected figures seem to mean that the mahakootami failed to impress the voter.
Mizoram: If exit polls are an indication, the Congress is likely to lose the only state it held in the N-E. Zee News Maha Exit poll predicted 18 seats for the MNF while the Congress’ tally would drop to 16 from 34 in 2013.
According to Times Now-CNX, MNF will attain 18 seats while the Congress will win 16 seats. The exit polls by Republic-C-Voter showed the MNF getting between 16 and 20 seats. In the 40-seat Assembly, 21 seats would mean a clear majority.