The BJP has fought the elections with Modi as its flag-bearer. Photograph: (AFP)
The results will be out Saturday
Results of most of the exit polls, which came out Thursday evening, have unanimously predicted that BJP is ahead in three states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Goa with some even pointing to a close fight between Congress and BJP in Manipur.
Punjab is the only outlier where the ruling SAD-BJP allaince is headed for a rout. Both the Congress and the new entrant to Punjab state elections, Aam Aadmi Party, are going neck and neck.
The big prize among all five states is Uttar Pradesh, which saw a high decibel campaigning by the BJP with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading from the front. And if exit polls are to be believed the BJP will emerge as the single largest party with two pollsters -- News 24 Today's Chanakya and India Today-Axis -- predicting a clear win for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. Today's Chanakya gave 267-303 seats whereas Axis has given a range of 251-279 for the BJP.
This will be a huge jump in the BJP's seat tally from the 2012 assembly elections when it got a meagre 47 seats. But, experts have said that the 2017 elections should be seen in the context of BJP's landslide in the 2014 General Elections when it swept UP winning 73 of the 80 seats. That would translate into 328 seats out of a total of 403 seats for the BJP in the assembly elections.
The Congress-SP alliance, most polls predict, will occupy the second spot. The India Today-Axis poll gave 88-112 seats to the alliance and ABP-CSDS predicted that the duo will get anywhere between 156-169 seats in the hotly contested elections.
Almost all the pollsters have put BSP at the third spot with a broad range of 28-93 seats.
The SP president Akhilesh Yadav has indicated that he might be interested in some sort of political realignment after the results in order to keep the BJP at bay. He said that he doesn't want a President's rule in the state as that would mean BJP ruling the state through a remote control
In Punjab, the Amarinder Singh-led Congress is pitted against the Aam Aadmi Party in a close fight with India Today-Axis poll predicting a majority for the Congress with 62-71 seats out of a total of 117 assembly segments. The India TV-CVoter poll pointed to an AAP victory with 59-67 seats. AAP is seen sweeping the entire Malwa region in Punjab, an area from where it got its four Member of Parliaments in the 2014 General Elections.
In Uttarakhand, which saw a lot of political upheaval in the run-up to the polls, almost all the pollsters showed that the BJP is ahead with India TV-CVoter showing that both parties are tied at 29-35 seats.
BJP might retain Goa with three exit polls giving it 15-22 seats in the 40-member Goa assembly.
Exit Polls (Uttar Pradesh) (DNA)
Exit Polls (Punjab) (DNA)
Exit Polls (Uttarakhand) (DNA)
Exit Polls (Goa) (DNA)
Exit Polls (Manipur) (DNA)
(WION with inputs from agencies)