As the six-week long and bitterly-fought Lok Sabha elections draw to a close, all eyes remain fixated on the 2019 exit polls, which will be announced at 6.30 pm on Sunday following the conclusion of the seventh and last phase of voting.
The fate of all political parties in the fray will be decided on May 23 and most importantly it will determine whether the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government can secure a majority of its own for the second time or the Congress-led opposition can stage a surprise comeback.
In India, exit polls have often proved to be unreliable. There have been several instances when they have predicted the verdict of an election incorrectly. For instance, exit polls on the 2004 Lok Sabha polls wrongly predicted the BJP-led NDA coalition winning again, while in 2009 they underestimated Congress-led UPA’s seat share. In 2014, however, most of the exit polls turned out to be accurate with BJP securing a majority of its own. Read this story in Malayalam
All surveys had projected that 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 had suggested the Congress would slip below the 100 mark. The Times Now-ORG survey, however, had predicted that the Congress would cross 100 seats. The surveys had also 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 exit polls had also predicted that Mamata Banerjee’s TMC and late Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK would be the only two other political parties with more than 20 seats in the new house.
The surveys had given the NDA between 249 seats (Times Now-ORG) and 340 seats (News24-Chanakya), and between 70 (News24-Chanakya) and 148 seats (Times Now-ORG) to the UPA.
How 2014 Lok Sabha results turned out
Riding a wave of anger and frustration with the previous UPA government, Narendra Modi led the BJP to an unprecedented victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Its tally of 282 seats marked the end of a successive coalition government since 1989. The Congress, on the contrary, was decimated as it drew a blank in seven states and could not register double digits in any. The grand old party managed to win a mere 44 seats in its worst performance ever.
The NDA together won 336 seats. The BJP swept all seats in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, and virtually won all of Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh (71 out of 80) as well as Bihar with allies.
While Mamata Banerjee’s TMC won 34 out of 42 seats, the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK emerged as the third largest party in the Lok Sabha, winning a staggering 37 out of 39 constituencies. While Naveen Patnaik’s BJD won 20 out of 21 seats, TRS secured 11 seats.