Before counting began in Assam today, the man who’s hoping to head the BJP’s first government in the North East offered his prayers at a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

“I asked for the welfare of the people of Assam,” said Sarbananda Sonowal.

Mr Sonowal said he is optimistic that the BJP will manage Mission 84 (of a possible 126 seats).

Exit polls show the BJP grabbing Assam comfortably from the Congress’ Tarun Gogoi, who is seeking a fourth consecutive term as Chief Minister. “Good luck to him,” said Mr Gogoi in an interview to NDTV, adding that he “does not want to talk about politics or exit polls”.

Anti-incumbency and the defection to the BJP of a key strategist and aide- Himanta Biswa Sarma- appear to have hit Mr Gogoi. So has his party’s refusal to partner with other outfits in the state.