Counting begins to decide fate of in 5 states

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With the exit polls predicting a stiff fight between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, the counting of votes began on Tuesday amid tight security.Early trends suggested that the Congress and the BJP were neck and neck in the battle to gain power in the 230-seat Assembly.

State Congress president Sachin Pilot, who returned from Delhi in the evening, held an informal interaction with mediapersons at the party office.

The BJP is confident about its fortunes on Tuesday because of its belief that the present exit poll models do not capture the effect of additional votes. The BJP's strength in the Lok Sabha has also come down to 272 from 282 in 2014.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president M K Stalin, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor Arvind Kejriwal, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav and Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) leader Sharad Yadav are also among those likely to attend the meeting.Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was unlikely to be part of the meeting, the sources said, adding that he might join the anti-BJP alliance post the general election. It also told Governor ESL Narasimhan that it should be treated as a single entity in the event of no party getting a clear majority. An upbeat Pilot expressed confidence about the party's win.

State Election Commission has made extensive preparations for counting of votes for 90 assembly constituencies across Chhattisgarh.

And in a reversal of trends, the Congress overtook the BJP in both Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The Congress and the MNF have ruled Mizoram since 1987. Is it really possible that these results will impact BJP's 2019 chances?

Over 8,500 candidates were in fray in polls for these assemblies and their electoral fate is now sealed in over 1.74 lakh EVMs, stored in over 670 strongrooms across the five states.

The counting of votes for the November 28 polls was underway at 51 centres from 8 am after the strongroom housing the EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) were opened in the presence of high security.

BJP candidates were ahead in 25 seats in Chhattisgarh. The Congress is in power in Mizoram, while the TRS ruled Telangana before the assembly was dissolved there. The BJP has been in power in the state since 2003 and is seeking a fourth straight term.

The party needs 100 seats to form the next government in the state. The Congress could also fail to lead a diverse coalition of regional and sub-regional outfits to the halfway mark of 61 seats in Telangana's 119-member assembly as well, if exit polls are to be believed. Of the 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh the Axis My India exit poll shows the Congress safely in the lead on 91 seats. In the 2013 elections, the Congress had won 34 seats, while its main opposition the Mizo National Front (MNF) got five seats and the Mizoram People's Conference bagged one seat.

Chhattisgarh: BJP had won 49 of the 90 seats, Congress 39 and others 2.

Chhattisgarh recorded 76.60 per cent voter turnout, while the same for Madhya Pradesh was 75.05 per cent. Rajasthan recorded over 74 per cent voting, while it was almost 80 per cent in Mizoram.

  • Rogelio Becker