agency New Delhi: Most exit polls on Sunday forecast another term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with some of them projecting that BJP-led NDA will get more than 300 seats to comfortably cross the majority mark of 272 in the Lok Sabha. Exit polls were, however, divided in their prediction for the politically most crucial state of Uttar Pradesh with some like ABP-Nielsen saying that the BJP’s tally may fall to 22 from 71 while a few others like New 18-Ipsos and News 24-Chanakya tipping its tally over 60 seats. The saffron party appeared to make major gains in eastern states of West Bengal and Odisha. Exit polls by News 18-Ipsos, India Today-Axis and News 24-Chanakya projected 336, 339-368 and 336-364 seats respectively for the NDA, with the BJP tipped to cross the majority on its own for another term after the 2014 polls. However, two exit polls — one by ABP News-Nielsen and another by Neta-News X — said the ruling alliance may fall short of a majority. ABP News forecast 267 and NewsX 242 seats for the ruling NDA. Elections to 542 seats of the 543-member Lok Sabha ended on Sunday. The Election Commission has deferred election for Vellore in Tamil Nadu over allegations of misuse of money power. The counting of votes is slated for May 23. Some of the polls put the NDA’s vote share at more than 40 per cent, with News18-Ipsos giving 49 per cent to the ruling alliance, which had garnered close to 39 per cent votes in 2014. Times Now telecast two exit polls giving the NDA 296 and 306 seats, while projecting 126 and 132 for the Congress-led UPA.
News 18-Ipsos, India Today-Axis and News 24-Chanakya have predicted 82, 77-108 and 86-104 seats for the Congress-led UPA, with the main opposition party likely to improve on its all-time low of 44 seats but still set to fall to a poor second this time as well.
The CVoter-Republic exit poll has forecast 287 and 128 seats for the NDA and UPA respectively.
ABP News-Nielsen and Neta-NewsX predicted 127 and 164 seats respectively for the UPA.
The CNN News18-Ipsos projected only 46 seats for the Congress and 82 for its allies.
In 2014, the NDA had won 336 seats and the Congress 44. The BJP had notched up its maiden majority by bagging 282 seats.
Some exit polls predicted that the SP-BSP alliance is likely to trump the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP had won 71 and its ally Apna Dal two of its 80 seats in 2014.
The CVoter-Republic forecast gave the grand alliance in UP 40 seats against 38 for the NDA, while the Jan Ki Baat said the NDA may win 46-57 seats against 15-29 of the SP-BSP combine.
ABP News predicted a huge loss for the BJP in the state, saying it may get only 22 seats while the opposition alliance may emerge victorious in 56 constituencies.
On West Bengal’s 42 seats, CVoter-Republic and ABP respectively gave 11 and 16 to the BJP, a big improvement on its tally of two in 2014.
West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee dismissed the exit polls as a “gossip” and a gameplan to “replace” EVMs.
“I don’t trust Exit Poll gossip. The game plan is to manipulate or replace thousands of EVMs through this gossip. I appeal to all Opposition parties to be united, strong and bold. We will fight this battle together,” she tweeted.
News channel ABP said the BJP may win nine seats in Odisha. It had won only one in 2014.
Exit polls in the country have had mixed record on accuracy.
However, Congress ally and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, said every single exit poll cannot be wrong. “Time to switch off the TV, log out of social media & wait to see if the world is still spinning on its axis on the 23rd (May),” he tweeted. Some social media users pointed out that election results in Australia proved most psephologists and news polls wrong.
BJP spokesperson Gopal Krishna Agarwal said people have given their approval to the Modi government’s work and asserted that the NDA will win more than 300 seats when votes are counted.
Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha slammed the exit polls as ridiculous and claimed that silent voters will be kind on May 23. The UPA will do better than the NDA, he claimed.
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