NEW DELHI :
THE Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appeared set to retain power with a bigger mandate in Maharashtra, where it is in alliance with the Shiv Sena, and Haryana, as Exit Polls forecast a facile victory for the party in the two States and rout for its rivals led by the Congress. Exit Polls, broadcast soon after the polling ended, varied widely in their projection of seats for the rival alliances but an emphatic victory with more than two-third seats for the BJP-led NDA in Maharashtra and Haryana was their common theme.
The India Today-Axis Exit Poll projected 166-194 seats for the BJP-Shiv Sena in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly and 72-90 for the Congress-NCP alliance. News18-IPSOS gave the BJP a near-majority on its own by predicting a whopping 142 seats and 102 for Shiv Sena. The Congress and NCP will bag 17 and 22 seats only.
The ABP-C Voter predicted 204 seats for the BJP-Shiv Sena and 69 for the Congress-NCP while the corresponding figures by Times Now were 230 and 48. In Haryana, the extent of a BJP win was projected to be even more dominant. The ABP-C Voter forecast 72 and eight seats for the BJP and the Congress respectively. The CNN-IPSOS projected 75 and 10 seats for the two parties respectively. The Times Now survey gave the BJP and the Congress 71 and 11 seats respectively. The poll of polls by the NDA gave the BJP and the Congress 66 and 14 seats respectively in Haryana, and 211 and 64 for the BJP-Sena and Cong-NCP in Maharashtra.