Exit Polls/ BJP-Shiv Sena to cross 200 in Maharashtra, sweep in Haryana

New Delhi: The ruling BJP is set to retain power in Maharashtra and Haryana in the first elections to be held since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s landslide win in the national election in May, exit polls said after voting ended in the two states.

The BJP is likely to retain both Maharashtra – where it is contesting the polls in an alliance with the Shiv Sena – and Haryana, according to a poll of exit polls.

For Maharashtra, the poll of exit polls, or an aggregate of various exit polls, gives the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance 211 of the state’s 288 seats and the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 64 seats.

In Haryana, the BJP is likely to win 66 of 90 seats, predicts the polls of polls, and the Congress is likely to win 14.

Endorsement of decisions like ending special status to Kashmir: The ruling party may see this as a huge endorsement of big decisions like ending special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370, which was the focus of its campaign in both states.

More election wins will also hearten the party at a time the opposition has tried to redirect the spotlight on the economic slump, farmer suicides, the agricultural distress and a job crisis.

Opposition ran a lackluster campaign: The opposition is accused of running a lackluster and spiritless campaign in Maharashtra and Haryana. A defeat is not unexpected but will further deflate an already weakened group.

The Congress is yet to recover from its crash in the national elections; Rahul Gandhi’s resignation after weeks of drama following the loss to the BJP spurred confusion, triggering infighting and exits.

Apart from Rahul Gandhi, hardly any top Congress leader campaigned in either of the two states. The results of today’s voting will be announced on Thursday.