Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party will win Punjab to set up its second state government after Delhi, exit polls have predicted. Opoyi’s poll of exit polls shows AAP getting between 57 and 71 of Punjab’s 117 seats. A party needs 59 seats to win.

The Opoyi poll of polls for Punjab averages out the midpoint and range outcomes predicted across 10 exit polls. Five of these have predicted a clear AAP win, with the Today’s Chanakya survey showing the party winning a whopping 100 seats. Three have an AAP win in their range outcomes. Of the two exit polls that do not project an AAP win, the India News poll shows a hung house with AAP as the single largest party. Only India TV poll predicts that Congress will get the most seats.

The poll of exit polls predicts between 23 and 32 seats for Congress, which will make it the principal opposition. The Shiromani Akali Dal is predicted to place third again with between 15 to 24 seats, which could better the 18 seats it had won last time along with its then ally the BJP.

AAP will do well to hold off on celebrations till Thursday, March 10, when votes will be counted for assembly elections in Punjab and four other states.

After the exit polls predicted a big win for the party, Bhagwant Mann, AAP’s chief ministerial candidate for Punjab, said he is ready to accept the mandate of the people.

“People’s mandate as to in whose hands will they place the reins of the future of their children, youth, elderlies for the next 5 years is locked in the machines (EVMs). Results will come on 10th, we will accept the mandate of people,” he said while talking to media.  

Exit polls often get it wrong, like many did in 2017, when they predicted an AAP victory. That year, the Congress swept 77 seats in a big win that the party’s Amrinder Singh admitted had surprised him. The much-touted AAP had won only 20 seats.

Much has changed since. Amrinder Singh, chief minister of Punjab till a bitter divorce with his party of 40 years in 2021, is no longer a Congressman. His exit amid deep fissures in the Congress, is seen to have considerably impacted its chances of a return to power. Singh’s partnership with the BJP is new and the Shiromani Akali Dal is still struggling to regain the massive ground it lost in 2017, though there has been some revival.

Today’s exit polls were released after the seventh and last round of voting in Uttar Pradesh. Elections were held over the past month in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur, and Uttarakhand. Votes will be counted for all five on March 10.

Exit polls are conducted by independent agencies on a sample of voters right after they exit polling stations.

Punjab voted in a single phase on February 20 to decide the fate of 1,304 candidates. The state saw an overall voter turnout of 71.95% as compared to the last assembly elections in 2017 which had recorded 77.2%.