The ruling BJP-Shiv Sena alliance is all set to win the Maharashtra elections by big margins, the first since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's landslide win in the Lok Sabha elections in May, predicted exit polls after the end of polling in the state.
In Maharashtra, the BJP-Sena is likely to win 230 of 288 seats, while the Congress is predicted to win 48 seats, according to Times Now.
India Today-Axis My India predicts between 166 and 194 seats for the ruling combine and 72 to 90 for the opposition.
According to CNN News 18-IPSOS exit poll, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance may secure 243 seats, the Congress + NCP will settle for 41 seats, while Others may win 4 seats.
Republic TV-Jan Ki Baat predicts that the BJP is likely to win anything between 135 and 142 seats, its ally Shiv Sena may secure 81-88 seats, while the Congress is set to win between 20 and 24 seats. The Congress’s partner NCP will win 30-35 seats.
According to the ABP News-C voter, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will win 204 seats, while the Congress will end up winning only 69 seats. Others, on the other hand, may secure 15 seats.
TV9-Cicero exit poll predicts 197 seats for the BJP-Shiv Sena combine, 75 seats for the Congress and 16 for the Others.
According to the NewsX-Polstrat exit poll, the BJP will win 144-150 seats, the Shiv Sena 44-50 seats, the Congress 40-50 seats, the NCP may win 34-39 seats.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who was among the early voters in Nagpur, said people will vote on the basis of the five-year performance of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and the Devendra Fadnavis-led dispensation in Maharashtra.
As many as 3,237 candidates, including 235 women, are contested in 288 seats and 96,661 polling booths were in place with 6.5 lakh staff for the voting exercise.
The high-voltage electioneering by the BJP saw participation of a galaxy of leaders led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh, as it continued to aggressively raise the nationalism plank by focusing on scrapping of Article 370 provisions on special status to Jammu and Kashmir and targeted the opposition on national security and corruption.
The opposition tried to corner the BJP governments at the Centre and in the states on the handling of the economy with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi blaming the ruling party for the economic slowdown and unemployment and highlighting issues like "failure" of demonetisation and GST rollout.
The BJP, which is seeking a second straight term under Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra, is contesting 164 seats, which include candidates of smaller allies contesting on its lotus symbol, while Sena has fielded candidates on 124 seats.
On the other hand, the Congress has fielded 147 candidates and the ally NCP 121.
Prominent candidates in the fray are Chief Minister Fadnavis and his predecessors from Congress, Ashok Chavan, who is in fray from Bhokar in Nanded district, and Prithviraj Chavan seeking re-election from Karad South in Satara district.
Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, son of Uddhav Thackeray, is contesting from Worli in Mumbai. The 29-year-old is the first from the Thackeray family to make debut in electoral politics.
The official results will be announced on October 24.
(With PTI inputs)