India elections: Exit polls say BJP poised to win in Assam

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters listen to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (unseen) as he addresses an election campaign rally ahead of the second phase of Assam Assembly election in Nagaon district of Assam, India, 08 April 2016. Image copyright EPA
Image caption The BJP is likely to win 73 seats in Assam to form a government, the polls say

PM Narendra Modi's BJP could win in India's north-eastern state of Assam for the first time, exit polls suggest.

But the Hindu nationalist party trailed regional parties in three other states that have held elections.

Assembly elections were held in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala states and the union territory of Pondicherry in April and May. Votes will be counted on Thursday.

Opinion and exit polls have often proven to be unreliable in India.

Surveys are often conducted with sample sizes ranging from a few hundred to several thousand voters.

The BJP is likely to win 73 seats in Assam to form a government and the Congress will get 37, according to a poll of six different exit polls.

Image caption The Communists are likely to win in Kerala, exit polls say

"Our historic victory in Assam will open new frontiers for the BJP in the northeast," Reuters news agency quotes BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav as saying.

But the party has failed to impress voters in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala states, according to the polls.

In Tamil Nadu, regional DMK party will get 120 seats, two more than the number needed to form a government, and its rival AIDMK will come a close second with 103 seats, the polls say.

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) will win 79 seats in Kerala state to defeat the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front, which will get 57 seats, the exit polls show.

The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) will retain power in eastern West Bengal state with 184 seats, the polls predict.

An alliance of left parties and the Congress will come second with 103 seats and the BJP will win five seats in the state.

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