The Samajwadi Party swept to a spectacular and decisive win in Uttar Pradesh while the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party combine won a second straight term in office in Punjab as counting of votes progressed in elections to legislative assemblies in five states today.
File photo of Samajwadi Party Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav, who led the party to a spectacular win in the UP Assembly Elections, the results of which were announced on March 6, 2012.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) of Mulayam Singh Yadav swept to a spectacular and decisive win in Uttar Pradesh while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine won a second straight term in office in Punjab as counting of votes progressed in elections to legislative assemblies in five states today.
In Uttarakhand, the ruling BJP and the Congress were locked in a close contest. The Congress had a slight edge, having won 32 seats while the BJP bagged 31 in the 70-member house. Much will depend now on which way the others, including three BSP winners, decide to go.
Overall, the results did not bring very good news for the Congress and the BJP, the two prominent national parties in the fray. The Congress won a third consecutive term in office in Manipur and the BJP wrested power back from the Congress in Goa, but the big prize - UP - eluded both of them.
In Uttar Pradesh, with results for all but one of the 403 seats out, the Samajwadi Party had won 224 seats and was leading in one, making for a possible final tally of 225 against the 202 required for a simple majority. The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was a distant second with 79 seats, far below the 206 seats it had won on its way to power in the 2007 elections.
The BJP bagged 47 seats and the Congress ended up in fourth position with 28 seats, with only a marginal improvement over the 22 seats it had won in the 2007 elections. Congress ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), headed by Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, won 9 seats while others accounted for 14 seats.
In Punjab, where the SAD and the Congress have been alternately voted to power for the last 45 years, the SAD-BJP combine returned to power for the second straight term, bucking that trend.
Of the 117 seats in the Punjab assembly, the SAD won 56, its ally BJP got 12 and the Congress had to rest content with 46. Three seats went to others.
In Uttarakhand, the ruling BJP and the Congress were engaged in a very closely fought contest. The Congress ended up with 32 and the BJP with 31. The BSP won three seats, the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (P) one and others three.
The BJP suffered a major setback when Chief Minister B C Khanduri lost from his own constituency in Uttarakhand.
In Goa, the opposition BJP regained power, winning 21 of the 40 seats in the House. The ruling Congress ended up with 9 seats, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party 3 and others won 7 seats.
In Manipur, the Congress won a decisive victory for a third consecutive term in office. It won 42 seats in the 60-member assembly. The Trinamool Congress won seven seats, the Naga People's front 4, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Lok Jan Shakti Party 1 each. Others won five seats.
The results came as a major disappointment for the Congress, which heads the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre, especially because the elections were held roughly half-way through its second term in Delhi and the results are likely to be seen as an indication of the public mood.
In Uttar Pradesh, particularly, the party had put up a spirited campaign led by its General Secretary and heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi, who addressed more than 200 election meetings across the state in a valiant effort to revive its fortunes in India's most important state in political terms.
The party's performance will, in the circumstances, be seen as a major setback to it, reminding many of its poor show in the last Bihar assembly elections. To add salt to its wounds, the Samajwadi Party does not need its support to form the next government in UP. The results in Punjab and Uttarakhand have also suprised the Congress, given that it was hoping to achieve clear victories in the two states.
Much will be made in the coming days of Gandhi's failure to convert the huge numbers at his election rallies into votes and there are bound to be questions asked about his vote-catching abilities.
Gandhi appeared before journalists to accept responsibility for the party's poor showing and said that he would continue to work to revive the Congress in UP so that it could win elections in the state.
While the SP celebrated in Lucknow and elsewhere in UP, things were absolutely quiet at the BSP office, which was, in fact, closed. State SP president Akhilesh Yadav, son of Mulayam Singh Yadav, said his party would implement all the promises made in its election manifesto. He also made it clear that the entire party wanted Mulayam Singh Yadav to take up the Chief Minister's job.
For the BJP, the results can hardly be described as good news, though it has won in Goa and is on the winning side in Punjab. But its number has fallen from 19 in 2007 to 12 this time. Similarly, it has not been able to improve on its performance in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh and is nowhere in the picture in Manipur.
Prominent winners in Uttar Pradesh today included BJP leaders Uma Bharti and Kalraj Mishra, state Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi and RLD leader Ajit Singh's son Jayant Chaudhary.
In Punjab, the winners included chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal of the SAD, former chief minister Amarinder Singh of the Congress, and Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma. BJP MP Navjyot Singh Sidhu's wife Navjyot Kaur and former Indian hockey captain Pargat Singh (SAD) were also among the winners.
Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, state Congress chief Gaikhangam were among the prominent winners in Manipur.
In Uttarakhand, former chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal and Congress leader Harak Singh Rawat were among the prominent winners.
In Goa, chief minister Digambar Kamat, BJP's Manohar Parrikar, who is likely to succeed him and Speaker Pratapsingh Rane were among the winners.
Counting of votes in the five states began at 0800 hours this morning. Polling was held in a single phase on Janaury 28 in Manipur, on January 30 in Uttarakhand and Punjab and on March 3 in Goa, while it was conducted in seven phases between February 8 and March 3 in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress had won just 22 seats in the 2007 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh but was encouraged by the 22 Lok Sabha seats it managed in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
The BSP had won 206 seats in the last assembly elections for a majority on its own, while the SP had got 97, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 50 and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) of Ajit Singh, which was then an ally of the BJP, 10. Independents and others accounted for 17 seats. RLD is an ally of the Congress in these elections.
In the last elections, the SAD had won 50 seats, the Congress 42, the BJP 19 and independents 6 in Punjab.
In Uttarakhand, the BJP had won 36 of the 70 seats to gain a wafer-thin majority in the last elections. The party has not been on a srong wicket for some time in the state and had to, in fact, replace its Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal before the polls with B C Khanduri.
In Manipur, the Congress managed a simple majority in the last elections by winning 31 of the 60 seats. The Manipur People's Party won five, NCP and CPI four each, the National People's Party and RJD three each, while as many as 10 seats had gone to independents. The Congress' hopes of another term in office is based, in part, on the absence of a unified opposition.
In Goa, the Congress had won 16 seats in the 40-member house in the last elections, the BJP 14 and the NCP 3, while the MGP, SGF, UGDP and independents got two seats each.
The elections in the five states covered 122 districts and a total electorate of 15.42 crore, about 20 per cent of the total electorate in the country.
Polling was by and large peaceful, with no untoward incidents reported from anywhere except for one incident in Manipur.
The elections also witnessed the highest voter turnouts ever in UP (60%), Uttarakhand (67.22%), Goa (81%) and Punjab (78.57%). In Manipur (79.35%), the percentage of voting was higher than the figures for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.