Update: As of 9.35 AM, early trnds show that BJP is winning majority in UP as it is leading on 216 seats while SP-Congress combine is leading on 64 seats.
Counting of votes for Assembly elections 2017 is going on in five states and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will find out today whether his popularity is enough to clinch a win for his party in Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state.
In Assembly Election Results 2017, early trends seem to confirm it, with the BJP taking a strong lead in UP, with the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance way behind in second place and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party trailing in third.
In Punjab, the Congress has raced ahead. These are very early rounds and things can still change.
At 9 am, the BJP was ahead in 75 of the 122 UP seats for which trends were in, a gain of 57 seats over its tally in the 2012 assembly election. SP-Congress were ahead in 31 seats, down 42, and the BSP was leading in 13, down 10 from last time. 202 seats will give a party majority in UP, which has 403 seats.
In Punjab, the Congress was leading in 24 of 36 seats, up eight seats from 2012, Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party was ahead in seven seats in its debut election and the incumbent Akali Dal -BJP was ahead in four seats, down 16 seats. A party needs 59 seats for a majority in the 117-member Punjab assembly.
The mega UP election, held in seven rounds, is seen as a bellwether for the 2019 national election. PM Modi, the face of the BJP's campaign, addressed many public rallies over two months in UP, the most important election he has faced since he led his party to victory in the 2014 national election. "We will win 300 seats," wagered the BJP's UP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya.
An outright win in UP will be an endorsement of the PM's stewardship of the economy after his high-risk decision last November to scrap 500 and 1,000 rupee notes worth 86 per cent of the cash in circulation, aimed at eliminating corruption and black money. It will also improve the BJP's strength in the Rajya Sabha or upper house of parliament where the government is in a minority and has trouble pushing legislation.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has partnered with the Congress, whose vice president Rahul Gandhi led his party's campaign. Akhilesh Yadav has at stake control of his party which he wrested from his father Mulayam Singh Yadav just before the elections. Rahul Gandhi needs endorsement of his stewardship of the Congress.
On the other hand, Congress has high hopes from Punjab, where the party is attempting to wrest the state from the Akali-BJP coalition. A party needs 59 seats out of Punjab's 117 to form government.
Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party debuts in two states this year - Punjab and Goa - and hopes to replicate its success in the Delhi elections. While exit polls show the party making no dent in Goa, they say AAP is in with a chance to form government in Punjab.