UP set for hung house, SP on top, BSP out (Third Lead)March 6th, 2012 - 1:24 pm ICT by IANS
Lucknow, March 6 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh was headed for a hung verdict Tuesday with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) set to be voted out and the Samajwadi Party finishing on top of the pack but without the half-way numbers needed to control the 403-member assembly.
Unlike in the first hour of vote counting when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seemed to be racing ahead of the BSP, later trends showed that Chief Minister Mayawati’s party would finish as the second largest group despite plunging from its 2007 tally of 206 seats.
Election Commission sources said the Samajwadi Party, whose performance mirrored exit poll predictions, was leading in 183 of the 384 seats where counting trends were available.
Having won only 97 seats five years ago, the Samajwadi Party made gains all across the sprawling state.
Party leader Shahid Siddiqui said he expected Governor B.L. Joshi to call Mulayam Singh Yadav to form the next government and that the party would be able to secure enough support from smaller groups.
BJP leaders admitted they were disappointed by the less than impressive showing in Uttar Pradesh where the party may end up falling to the fourth slot — marginally below an equally disappointed Congress.
The Congress was stunned, with many of its leaders openly admitting their disappointment — their woes only added by defeats the party faced both in Punjab and Goa. In Uttarakhand, the Congress was in neck and neck race with the BJP.
“We are surprised and shocked,” Congress leader and Minister of State for Science and Technology Ashwani Kumar said.
In an unprecedented development, Congress candidates trailed behind their rivals in all five seats in Rae Bareli, represented in the Lok Sabha by party president Sonia Gandhi.
It was the same story in Jagdishpur in Amethi, which elected Rahul Gandhi to parliament in 2009. Jagdishpur has been a Congress fortress for years.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid’s wife Louise Khurshid faced a miserable defeat in Farrukhabad.
Political pundits said the Samajwadi Party was expected to finish with 175-180 seats, short of the 202 needed to form a government.
The BSP could end up with around 100 seats, and the BJP and Congress in the 50-60 seat region.
The BJP quickly made it clear it would not back any coalition government in the state.
BJP general secretary Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the party realised that its decision to prop Mayawati thrice in the past was “a big mistake”.
Celebrations erupted outside the Samajwadi Party office in Lucknow, with hundreds of men and women, many donning red caps, dancing to drum beats.
Among the major players leading in Uttar Pradesh were Shivpal Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Congress state president Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Swami Prasad Maurya (BSP) and Kalraj Mishra (BJP).
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