New Delhi: Maharashtra and Haryana voted on Wednesday to elect new governments. The polls in both the states have been one of the most keenly fought and watched after the 2014 General Elections in May.
The elections are also one of the first real test of the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who led the BJP to an unprecedented win in May in the Lok Sabha polls. Modi had campaigned extensively in both the states, urging people to vote for the BJP.
The counting of votes is to be done on October 19 but before that the BJP was today projected in exit polls to emerge as the single largest party in both Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections stopping short of majority.
The Congress and NCP, which were ruling Maharashtra for 15 years before they split ahead of the elections, were projected to lose heavily while Shiv Sena was predicted to emerge as the second largest party.
One exit poll conducted by 'Today's Chanakya', however, gave a clear majority to BJP in both Maharashtra and Haryana.
Maharashtra, where PM Modi addressed 27 rallies, appears to be heading for a BJP government for the first time in the state's history.
According to C-voter exit poll telecast on Times Now, the BJP was projected to get 138 out of 288 seats. Its erstwhile ally Shiv Sena was projected to get 59 seats while Congress was predicted to bag 41, NCP 30, MNS 12 and others 8. For a majority, a party has to get 145 seats.
In the outgoing assembly, BJP had 47 seats while Shiv Sena had 45. Congress had 82 seats, NCP 62 and MNS had 12.
Exit poll conducted by AC Nielson for ABP News channel gave BJP 144 seats, Shiv Sena 77, Congress 30, NCP 29 and MNS 3.
Today's Chanakya exit poll telecast on News24 channel gave BJP and allies a clear majority with 151 seats while Shiv Sena was given 71. Congress was given 27 while NCP 28. The numbers for MNS were not available while Others were projected to get 11.
The same pollster projected clear majority for BJP in Haryana, giving the party and its allies 52 of the 90 seats. INLD comes second with 23 seats, Congress 10 and Others 5.
In the outgoing Assembly, Congress had 40 seats, BJP had only four, INLD 31 and HJC 6. Others had 9.
Exit poll by C-Voter projected 45 seats for BJP in Haryana, 23 for INLD, 15 for Congress, 4 for Haryana Janhit Congress and 3 for Others.
AC-Nielson gave 54 to BJP, Congress 10, INLD 22, HJC two and Others 2.
If the projections come true, the BJP will be forming the government in Haryana for the first time ever.
Modi campaigned extensively in the state, addressing 11 rallies.
Haryana today registered a record voter turnout with 73 percent of the electorate exercising their franchise to choose the next government in the state.
In Maharashtra a turnout of 63.4 percent was recorded till 6 pm.
Voting was "by and large" peaceful in both the states barring a few incidents of violence, as per PTI.
Deputy EC Umesh Sinha, in charge of Haryana, said that the state recorded its highest-ever voter turnout during the course of polling today. In the 2009 polls, 72.37 per cent votes were cast, he added.
With PTI inputs
(Please note: Where a range was predicted by the pollster, the figures mentioned above are a mid-point of the range in that case.)