India: PM Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party leading in Uttar Pradesh, Congress to retain power in Punjab

Bharatiya Janata Party is all set for a landslide victory in the UP assembly election.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set for a landslide victory in the Uttar Pradesh election results in 2017. It seems that now India will have a majority government. The Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance is taking a bashing at the hands of the challenger while Mayawati's BSP is looking at a distant third position.

If the BJP does wrest control of Uttar Pradesh, it would be an endorsement of Modi's stewardship of Asia's third-largest economy after his high-risk decision last November to scrap high-value banknotes worth 86 per cent of the cash in circulation. This election, the party chose to project PM Modi's policies and development agenda for seeking votes rather than projecting the chief ministerial candidate.

"This will be a phenomenal endorsement for Narendra Modi and will put him on track for winning the 2019 election," Prannoy Roy, editor of TV channel NDTV said.

BJP is maintaining a strike rate of over 50 per cent in leads in the crucial assembly elections, which is a major step before the 2019 national elections. It's leading on 306 of the 403 seats. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, the candidate from UP's ruling Samajwadi Party is also fighting hard for a second consecutive term, but the chances are grim.

"The results will redefine the prime minister's political destiny and his future course of action," an aide to Modi in the capital, New Delhi, told Reuters.

BJP's position in other states

Meanwhile, with a 45 per cent vote share in Uttarakhand, the BJP was leading in 52 constituencies while the Congress was ahead only in 16 segments, according to trends available for all the 70 seats.

Post-election surveys had suggested BJP had done enough to come first in Uttar Pradesh, home to one in six Indians, but that it might fall short of an outright majority.

The exit polls, which are often wrong in India, also put the BJP ahead in three of four other states that will declare election outcomes on Saturday. The early voting trends showed that the opposition Congress party was leading in the state of Punjab, while the BJP was ahead in the coastal state of Goa. The Manipur results are also due on Saturday.