The BJP is poised to be the single largest party in Uttar Pradesh but with it being a projected 40 seats short of a majority, the state could be headed for a hung assembly, a HuffPost-CVoter exit poll indicates.
The party is projected to more than triple its 2012 tally of 47 seats to win 161 seats in the 403-member house. This is, however, half the number of assembly segments that it won in the state in 2014, when the party swept 71 of the state's 80 Lok Sabha seats. The Samajwadi Party-Congress combine is projected to lose over 100 seats over 2012, while the BSP makes only marginal gains.
If the numbers hold, the BJP will need 40 more seats to form government, raising the possibility of a post-poll alliance with the BSP, despite party chief Mayawati's protestations to the contrary before the election. It could also lead to a situation where a large number of MLAs desert either the SP-INC or the BSP to form government with the BJP in UP. The possibility of President's Rule also remains.
The BJP's voteshare is projected to double, the BSP's remain virtually unchanged and the SP-INC combine is projected to lose eight percentage points in voteshare. The exit poll was conducted by CVoter on a representative sample 49,020 voters in 402 constituencies using the Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing method. The margin of error was +/-3% at the state level and +/-5% at the regional level.
If the numbers hold, this would be the BJP's best result in the state since 1996, riding on the back of personal campaigning by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who fronted the campaign to the extent that the party positioned no chief ministerial candidate. The SP-INC combine, led by sitting chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who campaigned on his good record on development, is projected to lose significantly in the state's Avadh and Poorvanchal regions.