On the money: Indian election results

On the money: Indian election results

Election results for five Indian states will be released on Saturday, with exit polls predicting a major win for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the country’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. With a population of 220 million people, Uttar Pradesh is a critical battleground; no party can govern India without holding power there.

Photo: Arun Sharma/ Hindustan Times

Photo: Arun Sharma/ Hindustan Times

Election results for five Indian states will be released on Saturday, with exit polls predicting a major win for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the country’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh.

With a population of 220 million people, Uttar Pradesh is a critical battleground; no party can govern India without holding power there. The BJP will need to secure 202 out of the state’s 403 assembly seats for the win –an achievable outcome, with some analysts predicting a windfall of up to 279 seats.

Saturday’s results will also gauge Prime Minister Modi’s popularity and serve as a litmus test for the 2019 national elections. Modi will be boosted by the well-received February budget, as well as signs that the economy is stabilising after the shock of his controversial demonetisation policy late last year.

Until now, Modi’s tax reforms have been blocked by the upper house, where his party does not hold a majority. Strong support for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh could strengthen its position in the upper house, allowing the government to pass much-needed reforms quickly.