The BJP-led NDA is set to rout the Congress and come to power comfortably, exit polls by TV channels suggested as the bitterly-fought five-week-long Lok Sabha polls concluded Monday.
The exit polls said that the BJP, led by its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, would register its best electoral performance while the Congress, which has ruled the country for a decade as the head of the UPA, would fall to a record low.
Votes will be counted on May 16, and results are expected the same day.
All surveys telecast Monday projected the BJP would win more than 200 seats, bettering its previous best of 182 seats in 1998 and 1999. In contrast, most polls barring the one by Times Now-ORG suggested the Congress would slip below the 100 mark. The ruling party’s worst showing was 114 seats in 1998.
The Times Now-ORG survey, however, suggested the Congress would cross 100 seats.
The surveys gave the NDA between 249 seats (Times Now-ORG) and 340 seats (News 24-Chanakya), and between 70 (News 24-Chanakya) and 148 seats (Times Now-ORG) to the UPA. In 2009, the UPA won 262 seats against the NDA’s 159.
The surveys suggested that Uttar Pradesh would be the biggest contributor to the BJP’s tally, with all predicting the BJP winning more than 45 seats of the total 80. The party won 10 in 2009.
The BJP’s gains in Uttar Pradesh indicate massive losses for the SP and BSP, with both failing to cross 20 seats. Both had 20 or more seats in the outgoing Lok Sabha.
While CNN-IBN-CSDS gave TMC 25-31 seats, India TV-C Voter put its tally at 27.
In Tamil Nadu, CNN-IBN-CSDS projected 22-28 seats for the AIADMK, while India TV-C Voter put it at 27 seats. The surveys also suggested the BJP winning more seats than the Congress in Orissa where Naveen Patnaik’s BJD has been projected to win a majority of the seats.
Maharashtra, the surveys said, would be another major gain for the NDA, with CNN-IBN-CSDS projecting 33-37 seats as against 11-15 seats for the Congress-NCP alliance. India TV-C Voter projected 32 seats for NDA in the state.
The surveys suggested the BJP would better its tally in Bihar as well, with CNN-IBN-CSDS giving 21-17 seats for the NDA while India TV-C Voter gave 28 seats for the NDA, with the BJP accounting for 24. The BJP had won 12 seats in Bihar in the last elections which it contested in alliance with the JD(U).
The surveys also suggested a major rout of Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) with the party projected to get a single-digit tally after winning 20 seats in 2009 in alliance with the BJP.
In politically crucial Andhra Pradesh, the surveys suggested the Congress would be thrashed in the Seemandhra region with CNN-IBN-CSDS projecting that the TDP-led NDA was locked in a close contest with Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress, with both predicted to win 11-15 seats in the region that has 25 seats.
However, India TV-C Voter put the YSR Congress ahead with 14 seats while the BJP-TDP alliance was given nine seats.
The fortunes of the Congress appeared to be no better in the Telangana region with the TRS bagging a majority of the seats. CNN-IBN-CSDS gave 8-12 seats for TRS and India TV-C Voter put it at eight in the region with a total of 17 seats.