|Cycle Races Ahead|
Aided by Muslims and Upper Caste voters' support, Mulayam Singh-led SP won 225 seats in the 403 member house.
Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) that was the ruling party was badly defeated. Right-wing BJP and the centrist Congress were reduced to irrelevance, as they came on the third and fourth positions.
Rahul Gandhi's high-pitched campaign failed to energize voters. Muslims, who form 21% of the UP voters, preferred SP over Congress. BJP failed to capitalise. Its leaders including state president Surya Pratap Shahi lost the election.
Veteran BJP leader and former Assembly speaker Kesri Nath Tripathi, suffered a humiliating defeat. The dynamic Akhilesh Yadav who led from the front during the campaign, emerged as the young face of Samajwadi Party. Ajit Singh's RLD couldn't perform as per expectations.
Congress tried to woo Muslims but its flip-flop over implementation of Sachar commission report, reservation for Muslims, Batla House inquiry, harassment of innocent young Muslims boys who were repeatedly arrested and tortured, had angered the community.
In Azamgarh, the party couldn't win a single seat. SP emerged victorious. The Samajwadi Party also got a chunk of Upper Caste votes. Anger against Mayawati government's policies was visible in the election results, as she could barely manage to get 80 seats.
In Uttarakhand, it was a tight finish, however, Congress had a lead of one seat over BJP and hence the former could be called by Governor for forming the government. In Punjab, for the first time in 40 years, anti-incumbency didn't work as Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP managed to win the election.
Captain Amarinder Singh who was projected as Chief Minister failed to capture the imagination of voter despite infighting in SAD and corruption charges against Badal family. In Goa, BJP won while Congress had a sweep in Manipur.