If the exit polls are to be believed, the Modi juggernaut has run over the combined Opposition in the national electoral sweep stakes. All the exit polls suggest PM Modi’s claim that they will win as many seats as in 2014 was more grounded in reality than the cheerful numbers put out by the Opposition.
The poll of polls, an aggregate of exit polls, has given the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) 298 of the 543 seats and the Congress and its allies a measly 124. The poll of polls indicates that the BJP’s internal assessment was not off the mark. It will make up for its losses in Uttar Pradesh with Odisha and West Bengal.
The aggregate indicates that in Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress will get 26 of the 42 seats and the BJP will move to double digits at 14. One particular exit poll has predicted that the two parties are running neck and neck in Bengal.
A similar forecast has been made in Odisha where Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal is jostling for political space with the BJP. The poll of polls predicts 50 seats for the BJP in UP. The Mayawati-Akhilesh Yadav combination has been given just 28 while the Congress is likely to fare no better than it did in 2014 – two seats.
The poll of polls also indicates that the Congress has not been able to capitalise on its December victories in three big Hindi heartland states, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Now, the numbers. According to the News18-IPSOS exit poll, the NDA is likely to get 336 seats. In fact, the BJP alone is expected to cross the majority mark and win 276, with allies making up the rest 60 seats.
Other exit poll survey like C-Voter for Republic and Times Now exit poll have also predicted that NDA will cross the majority mark of 272, with C-Voter giving the NDA 287 seats and Times Now predicting it will bag 306. According to C-Voter, the UPA will get 128 seats, while the SPBSP- RLD alliance will get 40 seats in Uttar Pradesh. The Times Now survey has given 132 seats to the UPA and 104 to regional players.
The BJP is likely to replicate its 2014 success in Delhi in its seven seats, with the News18 IPSOS exit poll predicting a sweep for the BJP. The survey has predicted 6-7 seats for the BJP, with the Congress possibly winning one and the AAP drawing a blank. On the other hand, ABP Nielsen, while still predicting a win for the BJP with five seats, predicted a single seat each for the Congress and the AAP.
In Madhya Pradesh, the News18-IPSOS Exit Poll has predicted 24-27 seats for the BJP and two-four for the Congress. The Aaj Tak Axis poll shows the BJP sweeping Madhya Pradesh with 26-28 of the total 29 seats, while the Congress is predicted to get between one and three.
The Chanakya-News24 has predicted the saffron party getting 27 seats and the Congress bagging only two. These polls suggest that ‘Brand Modi’, which was under question during the Assembly polls, featured quite strongly during the Lok Sabha polls.
It would also suggest that the Congress, coming on the back of a strong performance in the assembly polls when it went on to form the government, may have failed in many areas. In Jammu and Kashmir, the India Today Axis Survey predicts the National Conference winning 2 to 3 and the Congress 0 to 1. The survey also predicts that Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP will not win any. The BJP is expected to pick up 2-3 seats.
If the exit poll results are to be taken at face value, the BJP will alone cross the half-way mark, hinting at a new paradigm in Indian politics where muscular nationalism has subsumed caste divide and local issues. It would also be the first time that a party other than the Congress is being returned to power with a majority of its own. The UPA, the principal opposition alliance led by the Congress, will have to pray that it somehow gets into three digits.