The early trends from the most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, brought in a big surprise in the form of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which poses a tough challenge for the Samajwadi Party (SP).
According to the trends, the SP appears unlikely to get a majority to form the government on its own. At around 9.15 am, trends for 168 seats were available with the SP leading in 75, followed by the BJP on 42 seats.
While the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was leading on 26 seats, the Congress stood fourth with lead in 20 seats.
The polling in the state was held in seven phases from February 8 to March 3.
Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which had managed to get 206 seats in the previous assembly polls, is unlikely to repeat the good performance this year, thanks to the anti-incumbency factor in the state.
The Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, seen as the semi-final of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, witnessed a rigorous campaign in all the phases with top leaders from all the parties addressing rallies and gatherings across the state.
While Rahul Gandhi led the campaign for the Congress, Akhilesh Yadav made it sure that the Samajwadi Party left no stone unturned in ensuring a win. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the other hand roped in former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharti to not just campaign, but even contest the elections.
However, Mayawati preferred to take on the parties single handedly as she addressed huge rallies at several places across Uttar Pradesh.
In the four-cornered battle for UP, trends suggest a clear majority for the Samajwadi Party, and a sharp decline in the vote share of the BSP. The rigorous campaign by Rahul Gandhi is likely to yield any benefit for the Congress, which is likely to stand fourth.