Counting of votes begins across five states

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EVS machine
New Delhi, Mar 6: The counting of votes in the Assembly elections to the five states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- considered some sort of a semi-final before the next general elections -- began this morning amidst tight security.

Elections were held in a total of 690 assembly seats -- 403 in UP, 117 seats in Punjab, 70 in Uttarakhand, 60 in Manipur and 40 in Goa -- in a span of over a month.

The results are likely to have a bearing at the national level as Congress faces one controversy after another and is looking forward to salvage its image while the opposition treats it as an occasion to test the grounds ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Congress faces an uphill task in reviving its fortunes in the Mayawati-ruled Uttar Pradesh where its campaign was led from the front by Rahul Gandhi. Congress is contesting 357 seats in the state out of 403 seats where it won 22 seats in the 2007 state polls.  .

The ruling BSP, which won 206 in last elections, in UP has contested all 403 seats, SP 402, BJP 398 and RLD 46. Exit polls have predicted a hung assembly in the state with the SP showed as cornering the major chunk of seats.

In 2007 polls, SP had got 97 seats, BJP 50 and RLD, which contested in alliance with BJP won 10 seats. Independents and others had got 17 seats. In Punjab, Congress, led by former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh is hopeful of returning to power by ousting the BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal combine. 

PTI

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