Uttar Pradesh is heading for a three-way split with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leading the race, according to an exit poll conducted by NDTV after the third round of polling on Wednesday.
The poll gives the ruling Samajwadi Party only 10-14 of the 57 seats that went to polls in the third round, though in the 2002 elections it had won 26 seats, the news channel said.
On the other hand, BSP is set to win 15-19 seats, up from 9 last time, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 20-24 seats compared to 13 it won in 2002.
The Congress, which won only 4 of these seats, could win 4-8 this time, showed the exit poll that was carried out in 29 of the 57 constituencies with a sample size of 10,641.
The seven-phased polling in the country's most populous state will conclude on May 8.
Making a projection for the whole of the state on the basis of the three phases so far, the exit poll gives the Samajwadi Party and allies 105-115 seats (2002: 145), BSP 120-130 (98), BJP and allies 110-120 (107) and the Congress 35-45 (25).