Election Results 2022: BJP opens massive UP lead, AAP sweeps in Punjab, SP leads in Karhal
Counting begins at 8 am and the winner is....
An hour into counting and there are some trends from the postal ballots. Early leads indicate BJP has a comfortable lead in Uttar Pradesh and the Samajwadi Party is coming in second. Akhilesh Yadav's roadshows notwithstanding, in what looks like a bipolar contest, the SP may not be able to make significant gains, and the Congress and BSP may lose further ground. Punjab and Uttarakhand are tight races - the early leads show Congress neck-and-neck with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab and with the BJP in Uttarakhand.
Health warning: the leads stabilise a few hours into counting and early leads have not always proven to be good barometers of the final result.
BJP leads in UP
The BJP and its allies are looking to retain power in the four states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. In the 403-member Uttar Pradesh assembly, should the BJP win, they'll become the first party to be voted back in government for a second consecutive term. Most exit polls suggest that there is every possibility of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath leading his party to a comfortable majority, giving the BJP anywhere between 220 and 300 seats. The current assembly has BJP and its allies at 304.
In Punjab, AAP Sweeps
Most exit polls are giving Punjab to AAP and early leads are supporting the pollsters. The Congress has been a house divided with differences between party chief Navjot Sidhu and former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh making headlines. While the Congress has since consolidated behind Charanjit Singh Channi, who was made chief minister in September 2021, Amarinder Singh formed a new political outfit and allied with the BJP. The Akali Dal which fell out with its long-standing ally, the BJP, is in a pre-poll alliance with Mayawati's BSP. These realignments may see AAP's Bhagwant Mann becoming the next Chief Minster of Punjab.