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Exit Polls Predict Clear Victory for NDA and a Third Term for Modi

Exit Polls Predict Clear Victory for NDA and a Third Term for Modi

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, June 1: Even while conceding that the exit polls do not always go right, a third term for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the head of the BJP-led NDA seems to be on the cards with most of the exit polls predicting the ruling alliance to be way ahead of the opposition INDIA bloc.

As the seventh and the last phase of Lok Sabha polling concluding on Saturday and the counting of votes to be taken up on June 4, almost all the exit polls predicted the NDA to go past 350 seats, far ahead of the majority mark of 272 seats in the 543 member Lok Sabha, though none have carried the NDA to its dream score of 400 plus seats and the BJP short of 370 seats on its own as was claimed by the BJP leaders during the elections. But the INDIA bloc is also predicted to fall massive short of 285 seats expected by the Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge.

An aggregate of six exit polls indicates that the NDA will get 357 seats and the INDIA bloc 148 seats. The BJP’s individual score will be 327 seats — the expected 4-odd per cent up from the 303 seats of 2019 — and the Congress 52, the same score it had in the last general election.

The maximum number of seats predicted for the NDA was 362-392, in the exit poll by Jan ki Baat. It predicts the Opposition bloc will get 141-161 seats. It is followed by India News-D Dynamics, which is predicting that the NDA will get 371 seats and INDIA 125 seats. But by and large, none of the exit polls have put the NDA score at below 350 seats with the opposition INDIA bloc managing merely 125 to 150 seats.

As the numbers came out, Mr Modi, who returned after a 45-hour meditation at the Vivekananda Rock Memorial off Kannyiakumari coast in Tamil Nadu, said the “opportunistic” Opposition bloc has failed to strike a chord with the people of the country. “India has voted! A heartfelt thank you to all those who exercised their franchise. Their active participation is the cornerstone of our democracy. Their commitment and dedication ensures that the democratic spirit thrives in our nation. I would also like to specially appreciate India’s Nari Shakti and Yuva Shakti. Their strong presence at the polls is a very encouraging sign,” Mr Modi said in a series of posts on X.

All exit polls were by and large unanimous in predicting that the NDA would give improved performance in the south and in West Bengal. In Andhra Pradesh, the alliance with Chandrababu Naidu’s Telegu Desam Party may have paid off with the NDA expected to get 18 of the state’s 25 seats.

Karnataka is also expected to vote overwhelmingly for the BJP, despite its preference for the Congress at the state level. In Telangana too, the Congress may be unable to capitalise on its assembly poll victory and the decimation of K Chandrasekhar Rao’s Bharat Rashtra Samithi, exit polls indicate. The BJP is likely to walk away with over half of the state’s 17 seats.

The BJP is even expected to open its account in Tamil Nadu, with at least two seats, and in Kerala with one, exit polls predict. In Bengal, the BJP is expected to push up its 2019 score of 18 seats to 22, outstripping the state powerhouse Trinamool Congress for the first time. Mamata Banerjee’s party could get just 19 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats.

In neighbouring Odisha, the BJP can do even better, winning 15 of the state’s 21 seats and confining Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal — once the unquestioned choice of the people — to the margins.

The BJP will also continue to dominate bastions like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and the national capital. Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party — and ally Congress — could again fail to win a single seat in Delhi, exit polls predict.

Some change, though, is expected in Bihar, which had given 39 of its 40 seats to the NDA in the last election. The Opposition alliance, spearheaded by Tejashwi Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal, is expected to prise off 7 seats. The Opposition could also pick up three of 10 seats in Haryana and a few in Rajasthan — states where they scored a duck in 2019. In Maharashtra, the state that proved one of the hardest to read, the Opposition can scoop up more than one-third of the seats, exit polls indicate.

In 2019, an average of 13 exit polls had put the NDA’s combined tally at 306 and the UPA’s at 120 —underestimating the NDA’s performance, which won 353 seats in all. The UPA got 93. Of these, the BJP won 303, and the Congress 52.

As numbers came in for the exit polls, the Trinamool Congress has exuded confidence about performing well in the Lok Sabha elections, and claimed that the people of West Bengal have decisively given their mandate against the BJP. Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in Kolkata, senior TMC leader Shashi Panja claimed polling has been largely peaceful in the state, barring a few stray incidents.

Meanwhile, INDIA bloc parties took a u-turn on Exit Polls after the Congress announced on Friday that the party would not participate in the exit poll debate on television channels. “INDIA parties met and decided to expose the BJP and its ecosystem on the prefixed exit polls. After considering factors for and against participating in the exit polls, it has been decided by consensus that all the INDIA parties will participate in the exit poll debates on television this evening,” Congress spokesman Pawan Khera said on X.

The results for the Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim Assembly polls will be announced on June 2, votes for the Lok Sabha polls and other Assemblies of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha will be counted on June 4.



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