India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is poised to retain power in Maharashtra in alliance with Shiv Sena but the saffron party was locked in a close race with the Congress in Haryana where no party was in sight of clear majority as counting of votes for the legislatures in the two states neared the end.
Elections in the two states were held on October 21 in the first major test of popularity for Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he returned to power with a bigger mandate for a second successive term in national elections held in April-May this year.
As per trends available from the Election Commission in 283 out of 288 Assembly seats in Maharashtra, the BJP led in 99, Shiv Sena in 61, main opposition Congress in 41 and its alliance partner Nationalist Congress Party in 49 and Independents are ahead in 15 seats, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
The majority mark is 145 and the BJP and the Sena appeared well set to achieve it.
The NCP led by Sharad Pawar has fared better than the Congress which seems to have held on to its tally in 2014 elections.
In Haryana, no party seemed to be heading for a clear majority in the 90-member assembly with both the BJP and the Congress locked in a close contest, according to the latest trends available.
While the BJP was leading in 38 seats the Congress was ahead in 27 constituencies.
Haryana’s fledgling regional outfit Jannayak Janta Party, which fought its maiden assembly polls, was also ahead in 11 seats while another state-based party Indian National Lok Dal is ahead in two seats, according to the latest trends.
Commenting on the trends, senior Congress leader and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda exuded confidence that his party would form the new government in the state.
JJP leader Dushyant Chautala took a swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party's "Mission 75" (getting 75 out of 90 seats) in Haryana, saying they would fall way short of their target of winning 75 seats.
Chautala said no party would be able to form the government on its own, while adding the JJP will hold the key to formation of the next dispensation.
"People of Haryana want change," he told reporters.
Counting of votes for all the 288 Assembly segments in Maharashtra and 90 seats in Haryana began at 8:00am Indian time today.
Exit polls had forecast a comfortable win for BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government in Maharashtra and a comfortable victory for the BJP in Haryana.