As the five-week Lok Sabha polls concluded Monday, exit polls by TV channels suggested that the BJP-led NDA would rout the Congress and come to power when results are announced at the end of the week.
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.
The CNN-IBN-CSDS poll pegged 270-282 seats for the NDA as against 92-102 seats for the UPA. India TV-C Voter gave 290 seats for the NDA as against 107 seats for the UPA. Times Now-ORG put the NDA at 249 and the UPA at 148. It gave other parties 146 seats.
The exit polls telecast by CNN-IBN and India TV suggested the BJP would record its best electoral performance by winning more then 200 seats compared to the previous best of 182 in 1998 and 1999.
The polls said the Congress is in for a serious setback with its tally falling below 100 seats. Its previous worst was 114 in 1998.
While the CNN-IBN-CSDS post-poll survey said the BJP would win 236 Lok Sabha seats (or between 230-242 seats), the India TV-C Voter exit poll gave the BJP 250 seats, bringing the party close to forming a government.
CNN-IBN-CSDS gave Congress 77 seats (or between 72-82 seats), while India TV-C Voter predicted 78 seats for the ruling party.
The surveys suggested that Uttar Pradesh would be the biggest contributor to the BJP’s kitty, with all predicting the BJP winning more than 40 seats of the total 80. While CNN-IBN-CSDS put the BJP tally between 45 and 53 seats in UP, India TV-C Voter projected 54 seats in the state.
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.
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.
Among regional parties, Mamata Banerjee’s TMC and Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK were forecast to emerge as the largest parties after the BJP and Congress. 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.
In politically crucial Andhra Pradesh, the surveys suggested the Congress would be routed 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.