The Uttar Pradesh electorate has everyone guessing about the post-poll outcome and put a question mark on government formation. At the end of six phases of polling on Thursday, exit polls say there is no clear winner and predict a hung assembly.
The one message that comes out loud and clear, though, is that the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will become a stronger political force in the state.
Right now, the biggest worry for political parties — all down with poll fatigue after being in election mode for a good two months — is the prospect of a spell of President’s rule, if the electorate comes up with a fractured verdict.
As of now, the exit polls predict the emergence of the BSP as the largest single party in the state. The decisive battle will be fought in the Poorvanchal region on May 8, when polling for the seventh and final phase will be held in the last 59 seats.
So far, polling has been completed in 343 constituencies.
Significantly, if the NDTV survey is to be believed, the ruling Samajwadi Party, after suffering reverses in the initial rounds, is now recovering some lost ground with a strong performance in the fifth phase.
In the sixth phase on Thursday, the BSP is expected to improve its presence significantly with 21 seats. This would mark a gain of six seats for the party.
Things are looking good for the Bharatiya Janata Party too, according to the Star exit poll. It expects the saffron party to get 17 seats, five more than it did in 2002.
The NDTV survey gave 19 to 23 seats to the BSP and claimed that the SP would be the second largest party in this round with 16 to 20 seats. The BJP, the NDTV poll projected, would get between 9 to 13 seats, with the Congress expected to get anywhere between 0 to 3 seats.