The Bharatiya Janata Party is set to form the government in Uttar Pradesh – the party has far more than the number of seats required for a majority in the Assembly. The BJP has won 312 constituencies, and poll figures from the Election Commission show the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance won only 54 seats.
Media outlets CNN-News18 and ABP News had called the Uttar Pradesh election as early as 9.30 am on Saturday, saying the BJP would win with a majority.
Counting began at 8 am on Saturday at 75 centres across the state, where 403 seats were contested. Polling was held in seven phases from February 11 to March 8, with a voter turnout of around 60%. The BJP had fielded candidates in 384 constituencies, the Samajwadi Party in 298, its ally the Congress in 105, and the Bahujan Samaj Party in all 403.
The polls were to determine whether the Samajwadi Party would be able to retain the public’s faith in the state. On the other hand, it also served as a test for the BJP’s popularity since the Centre’s demonetisation drive. The BSP, meanwhile, tried to make the most of the BJP-SP feud and push towards a surprise victory, but its efforts have turned out fruitless. The exit polls on Thursday had predicted a BJP win, but not by the margin that we now see.
Uttar Pradesh is a crucial state for politics in the country. As the state has the highest number of Rajya Sabha constituencies – 31 – a win for the BJP would give it a chance to secure a majority in the Upper House.
Here is how the day panned out:
8.35 pm: BJP sweeps Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls. The final tally declared by the Election Commission is below.
7 pm: Election Commission dismisses Mayawati’s allegations of voting machines being manipulated. “There is no merit in allegations of EVM tampering in UP polls,” the polling monitor said.
6.50 pm: BJP has crossed the 300-seat mark with wins in 304 and leads in 13 constituencies. SP-Congress continues to trail with 52 and the BSP with 18.
6.30 pm: BJP state chief KP Maurya, who is believed to be in the running for chief minister, said Akhilesh Yadav should “accept the people’s mandate”. “He has questioned his own administrative authority by raising doubts about EVMs,” he added.
6.13 pm: The latest EC figures show a win in 290 seats in UP and a lead in 22. The SP-Congress alliance is far behind with 52 victories, and the BSP trails with 18.
6.07 pm: Left parties fear that the BJP sweep in Uttar Pradesh was a “dangerous” forecast for the country as it would “encourage divisive and harmful Hindutva politics”.
6.05 pm: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told TimesNow that the poor rallied with the government. He justified the prime minister’s extensive campaigning.
5.50 pm: BJP has won 284 seats and leads in 28. SP-Congress trails with 52 wins, and BSP has won only 17.
5.48 pm: Akhilesh Yadav submits his resignation as Uttar Pradesh chief minister to Governor Ram Naik at Raj Bhavan.
5.15 pm: Akhilesh Yadav says he does not blame the SP alliance with Congress for the loss. “We want the new government to do better work than what we did,” he said, putting up a brave face. “Maybe the people didn’t like the expressway we built, maybe they voted in hope of a bullet train in UP.”
5.10 pm: SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said the government should look into allegations of EVM tampering “if questions are raised”. Addressing the press at his house, he thanked party workers and accepted the results.
5 pm: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi congratulates the BJP and Narendra Modi for its victory. He said the party’s “fight continues and will not end till we win the hearts an minds of people”.
4.55 pm: The BJP now leads with 234 wins and leads in 75 constituencies. The SP-Congress alliance has won 41 and is ahead in 15, while the BSP trails with 14 and six.
4.45 pm: Union minister Venkaiah Naidu said on Twitter, “The thumping triumph of the BJP today is a clear reflection of PM Narendra Modi’s governance based on the bedrock of development.”
4.30 pm: Rape-accused Samajwadi Party leader Gayatri Prasad Prajapati is trailing behind BJP’s Garima Singh from the Amethi seat, though by a surprisingly narrow margin. Prajapati has been absconding since a non-bailable warrant was issued against him on March 4 in an alleged case of gangrape.
4.20 pm: The BJP has won 205 seats – more than the required majority in the 403-seat Uttar Pradesh Assembly. It is still ahead in 104 constituencies. SP-Congress trails with only 37 wins and a lead in 19 seats. BSP has won 11 and leads in nine.
4.15 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the BJP’s win was humbling and overwhelming and thanked “the people of India for the continued faith, support and affection” for the party. “I am overjoyed that the BJP has received unprecedented support from all sections of society,” he said on Twitter, thanking BJP workers and Amit Shah for their “tireless hard work at the grassroots level”.
4.10 pm: SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav was pipped to win the Lucknow Cantonment seat. But she continues to trail behind BJP’s Rita Bahugan Joshi, marking a significant loss for the Samajwadi Party.
4 pm: The latest EC figures show that the BJP has won 149 seats and is leading in 161. SP-Congress have won 27 and are ahead in 28, while the BSP’s figures stand at seven and 13. Mayawati’s party, however, has a higher voter share than the SP.
3.47 pm: Losing parties have brought up alleged EVM manipulation during elections in the past. DMK’s M Karunanidhi had made claims of such tampering after losing to the AIADMK.
3.45 pm: Amit Shah declined to comment on Mayawati’s allegations that the BJP had only won because voting machines had been tampered with. “I can understand her state of mind right now. Hence, I don’t want to comment on it,” he said at a press conference.
3.43 pm: The BJP will decide its chief ministerial picks for all four states at a parliamentary board meeting on Sunday evening, said Amit Shah. Narendra Modi will be present at the meeting.
3.40 pm: Shah said the BJP will form the government in UP, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur and thanked voters for choosing them. However, Election Commission figures show no clear winner in Goa and Manipur yet.
3.35 pm: BJP National President Amit Shah claimed the victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand were the biggest since India’s independence. BJP’s win shows people’s faith in Narendra Modi, he said at a press conference.
3.25 pm: BJP’s Gorakhpur MP Adityanath, and a possible pick for the chief minister’s post, told ABP News that state agencies were responsible for conducting the polls. He also alleged that rival parties had “conspired to not allow Muslim women vote”.
3.20 pm: Swaraj India President Yogendra Yadav said, “The staggering defeat for SP and BSP shows that politics of “social justice” has reached a dead end and appears casteist. It needs recasting, not recaste-ing.”
3.10 pm: BJP now leads with 85 wins and a lead in 225 seats. SP-Congress trails with 17 wins and BSP with four. The alliance leads in 39 seats, while Mayawati’s party lags behind with only 16.
3 pm: BJP has won 56 seats, while the SP-Congress alliance has won only 12. BSP trails with just two. BJP continues to lead in 248 seats, while SP-Congress is ahead in 50 and BSP in 17.
2.57 pm: Rajnath Singh, too, has reached the BJP’s Delhi office, as party workers continue their celebrations.
2.50 pm: Amit Shah joins the celebrations at the BJP’s Delhi headquarters. The party has not yet responded to Maywati’s allegations of EVM manipulation.
2.45 pm: BJP workers light firecrackers and bring in an early Holi as they rejoice their party’s landslide win.
2.30 pm: The BJP has won 37 seats, far ahead of SP-Congress. The alliance has won from six constituencies, while BSP trails with just two victories. The saffron party continues to lead in 267 seats, while SP-Congress is ahead in 55 and BSP in 16.
2.15 pm: BJP leader Shrikant Sharma called the party’s victory a “wave of change” and proof that people had realised that “SP, BSP and Congress were the biggest hindrance to the development of the poor”.
2.05 pm: SP leader Shivpal Yadav says he has won the Jaswantnagar constituency and thanked the people for voting for him. On the SP’s apparent defeat in the state, he said the party “accepted people’s mandate”. According to the Election Commission, however, counting is still under way in the seat.
2 pm: BJP’s voter share stands at 39.7%, considerably higher than in the previous Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
1.57 pm: BJP has won 16 constituencies and is leading in 286, according to the EC’s latest figures. SP-Congress leads in 60 seats, while the BSP is ahead in only 18.
1.52 pm: Union minister and BJP leader Babul Supriyo dismissed Mayawati’s allegations as “her farewell speech”. He said “she should take a chill pill and swallow the bitter pill” of the BSP’s loss.
1.44 pm: Mayawati claimed that party workers had brought up the foul play even during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but she had ignored the warning then. She said continuing to stay quiet about it would harm democracy. She challenged the BJP to a re-election using ballots, not voting machines, and said she had written to the Election Commission about the tactics.
1.41 pm: Speaking at a press conference, Mayawati said the votes were registered were for BJP even when citizens chose to elect other parties. She said there was no other way the saffron party could have won, adding that the voting machines were manipulated even during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the civic polls in Mumbai on February 21.
1.40 pm: BSP chief Mayawati said the results were shocking and hard to understand. She alleged foul play at polling stations, saying people did not have the option to any other party but the BJP, including in Muslim-majority regions. This, she said, proved that voting machines had been tampered with.
1.35 pm: Celebrations continue outside the BJP’s Delhi office.
1.27 pm: BJP workers have gathered to celebrate their party’s performance in Varanasi. In the Varanasi South seat, BJP’s Dr Neelkanth Tiwari is in a close contest with Congress candidate Rajesh Tiwari. But the party’s Ravindra Jaiswal and Saurabh Shrivastava have a giant lead in Varanasi North and Varanasi Cantonment.
1.25 pm: The BJP has won three seats and leads in 292, far ahead of the SP-Congress alliance. The parties together lead in 68 constituencies, while the BSP trails with just 18.
1.10 pm: Updated figures from the Election Commission show that the BJP has won two seats and leads in 296. SP-Congress is ahead in 61 constituencies and BSP in 20. The Samajwadi Party and BSP have an equal voter share of 22%.
1 pm: This is the BJP’s biggest win in Uttar Pradesh since 1991, when it won 221 seats. The party now leads in 292 constituencies, according to EC data.
12.57 pm: Union minister Smriti Irani has called Priyanka Gandhi “a paper tiger” and said Amit Shah had “delivered for the BJP”. Congress had counted on Gandhi’s leadership and campaigning to draw voters this election.
12.55 pm: BJP National President Amit Shah has called it a victory for “people’s faith in Narendra Modi’s efforts towards the poor” and a win for the prime minister’s “leadership and corruption free governance”.
12.50 pm: Cartoonist Kirtish Bhati sketches an image using SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav’s remarks in reference to a rape case. “Boys make mistakes,” he had said. Mulayam Singh Yadav had been against allying with the Congress for the elections.
12.45 pm: BSP chief Mayawati will address a press conference at 1.30 pm.
12.37 pm: Congress spokesperson R Surjewala said his party’s alliance with SP was aimed at development. “But people did not accept it...Those who speak of a ‘Congress-free India’ should look within themselves. Congress is India’s soul.”
12.35 pm: Akhilesh Yadav will address the media at 5 pm.
12.30 pm: Rajnath Singh thanked the people of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand for this “historic victory”. “We are grateful,” he said on Twitter. “BJP has changed the political sphere of the country.”
12.20 pm: The SP administration has been repeatedly targeted for the poor state of law and order in Uttar Pradesh and rising crimes against women. BJP leader Pankaj Singh attributed the Samajwadi Party’s loss to the “mountain of issues” it had created in the state.
12.12 pm: BJP’s Uttar Pradesh President Keshav Prasad Maurya, who is among the front-runners for the chief minister’s post, joins celebrating workers in Lucknow.
12.04 pm: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has dubbed BJP’s lead a result of “Modi magic”. “He is ruling over people’s hearts,” he told ANI.
12 pm: BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi said Narendra Modi and party national president Amit Shah will decide on the next Uttar Pradesh chief minister, according to India Today.
11.55 am: BJP workers are out on the streets celebrating the party’s clear win.
11.50 am: EC has released data for all 403 seats – BJP leads in 292, SP-Congress in 71 and the BSP in only 18. Independent candidates lead in three seats, while other parties, including the Apna Dal (Soneylal) and Rashtriya Lok Dal, are ahead in 20 seats.
11.38 am: Union minister Piyush Goyal said the nation is “standing with PM Modi” today. “This is a victory for the people of UP and Uttarakhand,” he said. BJP has a lead in 53 of the 70 seats in Uttarakhand.
11.24 am: The EC has data for 400 of the 403 Assembly seats. It shows the BJP leading in 293 seats, SP-Congress in 70 and the BSP in 15. The Samajwadi Party and BSP received around the same number of votes.
11.20 am: ABP News says BJP candidate Brijesh Singh has won from the Muslim-dominated Deoband constituency.
11.15 am: The Congress seems to have accepted defeat in Uttar Pradesh. Party leader Rajiv Shukla said, “We respect the mandate, but development has lost and vote-bank politics has won.”
11.13 am: BJP leader Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said people will no longer accept a Congress government now as its “hand” had been tainted with its alliance with offenders, referring to the party’s symbol.
11.10 am: Senior BJP officials have told BBC India that either KP Maurya or Manoj Sinha will be appointed the UP chief minister.
11.07 am: The Times of India has declared leads in all 403 seats, with the BJP ahead in 293, SP-Congress in 76 and the BSP in 28.
11 am: Three hours into counting, BJP leads in 287 seats. SP-Congress and BSP trail with 71 and 17, according to Election Commission.
10.56 am: ABP News says BJP has crossed the 300 mark in its leads, “creating history”. The channel says BJP is ahead in 302 seats, SP-Congress in 71 and BSP in 20.
10.50 am: BJP now leads in 276 seats, far ahead of the SP-Congress alliance’s lead in 69. The BSP is nowhere close with its 19-seat lead.
10.48 am: Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s son Pankaj Singh is ahead with a great lead from Noida.
10. 45 am: In 1985, Congress won 269 of the 425 seats in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly. The BJP looks all set to break that record.
10.43 am: Jubilant BJP workers begin early Holi celebrations in Kanpur as the party looks poised to win a majority.
10.40 am: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had dismissed the exit poll results, which had predicted a landslide win for the BJP. He had highlighted the incorrect trends that were projected ahead of the 2015 Bihar Assembly elections.
10.37 am: BJP leads in 270 of the 377 seats for which EC data is available. SP-Congress is ahead in 68 seats and BSP in 18. Voter share continues to be low for the alliance in comparison to the BJP.
10.33 am: BJP’s Tejpal Singh Nagar is leading from Dadri. The party’s Rita Bhaguna Joshi is ahead of SP’s Aparna Yadav by a great margin from the Lucknow Cantonement seat.
10.29 am: The BSP’s vote share so far is higher than the SP, according to the EC data. This mirrors what happened in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when the party had the third highest vote share but no seats.
10.28 am: BJP’s Adityanath says people rejected the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance in Uttar Pradesh.
10.25 am: The other big story of this election is the Bahujan Samaj Party’s abysmal performance. EC data shows the party is leading in just 17 of 345 seats. If the present trends hold, this could be the party’s worst ever performance since the 1990s.
10.23 am: EC has data for 362 seats – BJP leads in 259, SP-Congress in 68 and BSP in 16. Figures show that BSP had 22.2% of the voter share, ahead of the Samajwadi Party that got 21.9%.
10.20 am: Adityanath, the BJP’s firebrand Hindutva leader, told reporters that the party’s parliamentary board will meet and decide who will be the next chief minister of the state.
10.17 am: Speculation begins – Keshav Maurya, Dinesh Sharma, Srikant Sharma, Siddharth Nath, Manoj Sinha or Adityanath? Who will be the next Uttar Pradesh chief minister?
10.16 am: Euphoria among BJP workers across the country as official numbers come in.
10.13 am: The BJP is now leading in 221 seats, past the halfway mark. SP-Congress trails with a lead in 64 constituencies, while BSP’s lead remained unchanged at 12.
10.10 am: SP state chief Shivpal Yadav is leading from Jaswant Nagar.
10.06 am: According to the EC data, the BJP has so far garnered 40.5% of the vote share. To put this in perspective, in 2012, the Samajwadi Party, won 29.15%.
10.05 am: India Today’s Rahul Kanwal says, “BJP’s sweep in UP is the most spectacular electoral victory in the state since the Congress won in 1985 after Indira Gandhi’s assassination.”
10.03 am: BSP’s Abdul Waris Khan and BJP’s Suresh Rana are neck-and-neck in Thana Bhawan. SP leader Azam Khan’s son Mohammad Abdullah is leading from Suar.
10 am: BJP leads in 199 seats, SP-Congress trails with 56, while BSP leads in 17, according to Election Commission figures. Congress voter share has dropped to 6.6%, SP had 22.3% and BJP 40.6%.
9.57 am: Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s son Pankaj Singh is leading for the BJP from Noida. Swami Prasad Maurya, who left BSP for the BJP last year, is leading from Padrauna. Aditi Singh of the Congress leading from Rae Bareli.
9.55 am: BJP leads in 171 seats, SP-Congress trails with 50, while BSP leads in 12, according to Election Commission figures. Apna Dal (Soneylal) leads in five seats and the Rashtriya Lok Dal in one.
9.50 am: BSP state president Ram Achal Rajbhar is leading from Akbarpur constituency. BJP’s Ved Prakash Gupta is leading from Ayodhya. Sitting Samajwadi Party MLA Nahid Hasan trails behind BJP’s Mriganka Singh from Kairana.
9.47 am: EC numbers for 207 seats are in – BJP leads in 143 seats, SP-Congress in 42 and BSP in 14. Vote share for the Congress has dropped to 7.3%, while BJP had 40.6%.
9.42 am: BJP won 221 seats in 1991, and Kalyan Singh became the chief minister. The party has not announced a chief ministerial candidate this time. The front-runners for the post are Rajnath Singh, Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma.
9.40 am: Dainik Bhaskar shows BJP leading in 251 seats, SP-Congress in 65 and BSP in 32. Amar Ujala shows BJP leading in 240, SP-Congress in 68 and BSP in 31.
9.36 am: If the present trends hold, the BJP will easily cross the halfway mark and wrest its biggest win in the state. The exit poll by Chanakya had predicted a landslide win for the party.
9.35 am: BJP leads in 77 seats, SP-Congress trails with 22, while BSP leads in 12. Election Commission figures show that the BJP won 39.7% of the vote share, BSP 22.4%. SP 20.2% and Congress only 8%.
9.30 am: Media outlets CNN-News18 and ABP News have called the Uttar Pradesh election, saying the BJP will win with a majority. Meanwhile, EC data shows the party is leading in 50 seats, while SP-Congress trails with 12.
9.24 am: ABP News shows BJP leading in 200 of the 284 seats for which trends are available. Dainik Bhaskar shows BJP leading in 210 seats, SP-Congress in 50 and BSP in 35.
9.22 am: Early trends have BJP workers celebrating outside the UP party headquarters.
9.20 am: Of the 24 seats for which EC data is available, newly-formed party Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal is leading in one. Read more about the party here.
9.18 am: BJP leads in 17 seats, SP in two and the BSP and Congress in one each, according to the Election Commission. Apna Dal (Soneylal) and Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal lead in one seat each. BJP has 40% of the vote share, SP 18% and Congress 8%.
9.13 am: MLC Madhukar Jetley on NewsX hinted at a defeat for the SP – the first party leader to do so. He blamed Akhilesh Yadav’s rift with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav for the loss, journalist Barkha Dutt said on Twitter.
9.09 am: Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav trailing from the Lucknow Cantonment seat. She contested for the constituency against BJP’s Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
9.05 am: The first numbers from the Election Commission are in. BJP is leading in five seats, while BSP and SP are leading in one each. The saffron party has 36% of the vote share.
9 am: The first hour of counting has ended. There is still no data from the Election Commission. But media outlets are remarkably showing numbers for as many as 170 seats. The ABP News has BJP with a lead in 100 seats.
8.58 am: Amar Ujala show the BJP with a lead in 100 seats. SP-Congress trails with 33 and the BSP with 21.
8. 55 am: Azam Khan’s son Abdullah is trailing in Rampur district’s Swar constituency, according to ANI.
8.50 am: CNN-News18 shows BJP with a lead in 69 seats, while the Congress-SP alliance and BSP trail with 17 and 13.
8.47 am: The BJP continues to gain strength, according to media outlets. According to Bhaskar and Amar Ujala, BJP has more leads than the seats won in 2012. The party won 47 seats in 2012. It is leading in 50 seats, according to Bhaskar.
8.45 am: According to ABP News, the BJP is leading in 50 seats and SP-Congress in 25, while the BSP trails with 16.
8.38 am: No official data available from the Election Commission yet, but several media outlets are showing significant gains for the BJP.
8.35 am: Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav appears certain of a “big win” for his party’s alliance with the Congress.
8.30 am: According to Dainik Bhaskar, BJP has the lead with 25 seats, while Congress-SP has 18 and the BSP 14.
8.28 am: Cameras on drones are being used for surveillance near a counting centre in Lucknow.
8.22 am: Local reports say independent candidate Raghuraj Pratap Singh, better known as Raja Bhaiya, has an early lead in the Kunda consituency, while BSP’s Mukhtar Ansari is leading in Mau. There are no official figures from the Election Commission yet.
8.18 am: The first numbers are in. The BJP, Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance and BSP all have leads in two seats each, according to media outlets. There are no official figures from the Election Commission yet.
8.10 am: Samajwadi Party workers performed a havan in Lucknow ahead of counting.
8.07 am: More than a thousand candidates contested for the 403 seats in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.
8 am: Counting of votes has begun. Security arrangements are in place outside counting centres. Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi had said 188 companies of paramilitary forces had been deployed in the state to maintain law and order.