Indian Spokesman Correspondent
INDIA: After two hours of counting, the BJP was cruising ahead in about 270 of 390 seats for which trends were available, with the Samajwadi Party-Congress combine leading in just 77 seats. The Bahujan Samaj Party was at the third position with leads in 30 seats. The halfway mark in the state’s 403-member house is 202.
The results of the assembly polls would be seen a test for Modi’s policies, including the controversial decision to recall 500-and 1000-rupee banknotes, and boost his chances for a second term in the national elections in 2019. A strong showing by his party will also provide fresh impetus to politically unpalatable but industry-friendly labour and land reforms.
The polls were also seen as an acid test of AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal’s ability to take his party beyond the national capital, where it won power in 2015. Early trends did not bring happy news for him. The party was trailing behind the Congress and the ruling Akali Dal-BJP combine in Punjab. The Congress was leading 61 of 115 seats for which trends were available. The AAP was leading in 23 seats and the ruling alliance in 30.
State chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was ahead of Congress’s Captain Amarinder Singh in Lambi. Singh was, however, leading in his home seat Patiala. In Goa, Kejriwal’s party was yet to make an impression on any seat.
In Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi patriarch Mulayam Singh’s daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav was trailing in the Lucknow Cantonment seat. Senior party leader Azam Khan and his son Abdullah were also trailing.
Early trends suggested a clean sweep for the BJP in Uttarakhand, where the Congress is now in power. The party was leading in 47 of 61 seats for which trends were available. State chief minister Harish Rawat was trailing in two seats that he contested.