Election results 2017 are upon us: Full recap of the 5-state, 36-day polls

Will the Congress retain power in Uttarakhand? Will Irom Sharmila's political play be a success in Manipur? Will the Aam Aadmi Party manage to widen its pan-India presence by winning Goa and Punjab? And, most importantly, who will win the big, bad state of Uttar Pradesh?

The politicians are back in their offices, the campaign managers are clustered in their war rooms, all the votes have been cast, and the exit polls have made their predictions.

The 36-day election cycle has come to an end and the results are a few hours away.

At 8 am on Saturday, March 11, the respective state election commissions in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur will unseal the electronic voting machines and begin counting the votes cast during these polls.

The Assembly elections results, being seen as a preview of the 2019 general elections, are being eagerly awaited.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has a lot to win (and lose) in these elections; the polls are being seen as a test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetisation move.

Furthermore, favourable results in these Assembly elections could help the party increase its strength in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling coalition at Centre does not have a majority.

Will the Congress retain power in Uttarakhand? Will Irom Sharmila's political play be a success in Manipur? Will the Aam Aadmi Party manage to widen its pan-India presence by winning Goa and Punjab? And, most importantly, who will win the big, bad state of Uttar Pradesh?

The picture will be clearer towards noon Saturday. Meanwhile, here's a recap of what happened in the 2017 Assembly elections.

FAST FACTS

  • 690 Assembly constituencies went to polls in UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.
  • Of the 690 constituencies, 133 seats were reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates and 23 seats for Scheduled Tribe candidates.
  • 16 crore registered voters were eligible to vote in the Assembly elections in the five states.
  • 1.85 lakh polling stations were set up for the 16 crore registered voters who exercised their rights in these Assembly elections.
  • Rs 28 lakh was the limit of expenses for candidates in UP, Uttarakhand and Punjab, while Rs 20 lakh was set as the limit in Goa and Manipur.
  • To give more privacy to voters, the height of the voting compartments was increased by 30 inches during these polls.
  • To help voters, four posters explaining the dos and don'ts of polling were put up in each booth.
  • One voter assistance booth was set up for every polling station location.

UTTAR PRADESH

All eyes are on the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, which saw the election spread across seven phases. Considered as the mother of all battles, the fight in India's most populous state is between the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance and BJP.

A win here would certainly give a boost to BJP's plans for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The party knows this and that's precisely why almost the entire Modi cabinet was camping in Varanasi ahead of the last phase election on March 8.

Incumbent Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is trying to retain power while the BJP is hoping that Modi magic works for the saffron party, which is looking to make a comeback in the state after a gap of 15 years.

According to The India Today-Axis My India exit poll, the BJP is set to sweep the state by winning a staggering 251-279 seats in the 403-member Assembly, reducing the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance to less than 100 seats and decimating the Bahujan Samaj Party.

The state has given India eight of its 14 Prime Ministers.

MANIPUR

Manipur's Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh looks all set to retain power for a record fourth consecutive term by beating the anti-incumbency wave.

The India Today-Axis My India exit poll had predicted that the Congress's bastion guarded by Singh is still unassailable. Congress has been in power in the state since 2002, when Singh became the chief minister of the state for the first time.

BJP, who snatched away Assam from Congress last year, is hoping to add another north-eastern state to its kitty.

In the outgoing Assembly, Congress had an absolute majority.

The results will also decide the political relevance of anti-AFSPA activist Irom Sharmila Chanu, who broke her 16-year-old hunger strike last year to enter politics.

Her party PRJA (Peoples' Resurgence and Justice Alliance) has put up candidates for three seats.

UTTARAKHAND

Uttarakhand, which went to polls on February 15, has a total of 637 candidates vying for the 70 seats in its Assembly. The hill state had a 65.64 per cent voter turnout for these Vidhan Sabha polls.

Here, the main fight is between the incumbent Chief Minister Harish Rawat of Congress and former Chief Minister and BJP leader BC Khanduri.

Both India Today-Axis and Chanakya exit polls project a clean sweep for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with nearly 53 seats, while C-Voter exit poll showed a tie between BJP and Congress with 29 to 35 seats in the Assembly.

GOA

The coastal state of Goa went to polls on February 4. The incumbent government, led by BJP's Laxmikant Parsekar is fighting Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and the Shiv Sena-MGP-GSM alliance in the election.

The Bharatiya Janata Party's aggressive campaign saw former chief minister of the state and current Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar canvassing for the party. While the Aam Aadmi Party, which is making its debut this year, launched a massive campaign projecting former bureaucrat Evlis Gomes as its chief ministerial candidate.

The India Today-Axis Exit Polls predict a victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state with 18-22 seats but say the party might fail getting a clear majority.

PUNJAB

A total 1,145 candidates are in fray for 117 Assembly seats. While Congress has fielded candidates on all 117 seats, AAP is contesting on 112 seats. Ruling SAD has 94 contestants and its ally BJP has 23 candidates.

Former AAP leader Sucha Singh Chhotepur's Apna Punjab Party (APP) and SAD (Amritsar) have fielded candidates on 77 seats and 54 seats respectively. BSP has fielded 111 candidates and Trinamool Congress is contesting on 20 seats.

Besides the mainstream parties, 304 independent candidates are also in the fray. Of the total contestants, 94 sitting MLAs have been nominated to fight the elections.

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