New Delhi: Counting of votes for the single-phase Haryana Assembly Elections, which were held on October 21, will begin at 8 AM at counting stations across the state, on Thursday. The ruling BJP, which formed its first government in the state after the 2014 state polls, is looking for a second consecutive five-year term in office. (Click here for all Haryana Assembly Election-related news).

The polls witnessed a turnout of 65%, less than that from five years ago.

Most exit polls have predicted that the saffron party, under first-term Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, will retain power for another five years with a bigger mandate than 2014. Pollsters have given it between 52-75 seats in the 90-seat Assembly; the main opposition Congress, meanwhile, is expected to face a severe drubbing.

However, it’s the India Toda-Axis My India exit poll, which has predicted a hung Assembly, with the BJP getting 32-44 seats and 30-42 for the Congress. This exit poll also predicts that it is Dushyant Chautala, president and co-founder of the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), who will emerge as the likely ‘kingmaker’ post result declaration.

The JJP was formed in December 2018, a month after he was expelled from the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) for ‘indiscipline’, ‘hooliganism’ and ‘spreading disaffection in the party’ against its leadership.

The BJP currently has 47 seats in the Haryana Assembly. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it won all 10 Parliamentary seats in the state.

During Assembly poll campaigning, its star campaigners in the state, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, UP CM Yogi Adityanath, working party president JP Nadda etc., held multiple rallies across the state and laid emphasis on national issues like the abrogation of Article 370, Balakot airstrikes etc., instead of local issues.

Final results will be announced later in the day.