Exit polls for the Haryana assembly elections have shut out both the Congress and the INLD, for whom these elections were a battle for survival. The ruling Congress is projected to face a rout, its prospects shown as much worse than the INLD’s.
The exit polls suggest that the real contest this election is between the BJP and the INLD, with the Congress struggling to win a respectable number of seats. Most agencies have projected the ruling party will end up between 10 and 15 seats.
While incumbent chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is expected to win comfortably from Garhi Sampla Kiloi, a number of Hooda’s cabinet colleagues are projected to lose. The exit poll predictions suggest that the electorate has taken note of various controversies surrounding Hooda, among them a number of allegedly dubious land deals.
The party has been projected to take a beating in all Lok Sabha constituencies barring Rohtak and Sonepat. Congress sources admitted most ministers were staring at defeat, with the party set to routed in assembly segments in the Lok Sabha seats of Ambala, Kurukshetra, Hisar, Karnal, Sirsa, Gurgaon and Faridabad.
Hooda, for his part, has trashed the exit poll surveys and claimed the Congress will form the government for a third consecutive term.
As for the INLD, the exit polls suggest that the party’s attempts to woo the electorate on sympathy arising out of the conviction of Om Prakash Chautala and his elder son, Ajay, have not worked. According to the exit polls, INLD is shown winning a maximum of 25 and a minimum of 20 seats.
The Chautalas had focused their poll campaign on creating such a sympathy wave, claiming that Om Prakash Chautala and Ajay Chautala had been falsely implicated on corruption charges.
The INLD’s Abhay Chautala has refused to accept the exit poll predictions and said, “We thank the people of Haryana for voting in such large numbers. I am quite sure that this heavy polling will go in INLD’s favour.”
The leader of the party’s youth wing, Digvijay Chautala, said, “We have a cadre base in rural areas of the state. Generally, exit polls are based on surveys conducted in urban areas. People of Haryana will celebrate Diwali before Diwali with us on October 19”.
The exit polls have projected the BJP winning at least 45 seats. Should that happen, the INLD would be reduced to the primary opposition but an insignificant one, with its top leaders in jail after being convicted in corruption cases.