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Exit polls out: Congress-NCP reject predictions, BJP-Sena say will keep tally intact

The exit polls predicted another poor show by the Congress-NCP alliance, which is expected to win only 10 to 15 of the 48 seats in Maharashtra.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: May 20, 2019 8:55:53 am
Exit polls out: Congress-NCP reject predictions, BJP-Sena say will keep tally intact Uddhav Thackeray with Narendra Modi and Amit Shah at the swearing-in of Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai in 2014. (Pradip Das/Express Archive)

MOST exit polls on the 2019 Lok Sabha election results have predicted that the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will not be able to hold on to the 41 seats that the combine won in the 2014 parliamentary polls. The exit poll predictions were declared on Sunday evening, hours after polling ended in the last phase of Lok Sabha elections. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.

The exit polls predicted another poor show by the Congress-NCP alliance, which is expected to win only 10 to 15 of the 48 seats in Maharashtra. While ABP Majha gave 34 seats to the BJP-Sena alliance and 14 to Congress-NCP, India Today gave 38-42 seats to BJP-Sena alliance and 6-10 seats to Congress-NCP alliance. C-Voter has predicted 34 seats for the BJP-Sena alliance and 14 for Congress-NCP. Similarly, Jan Ki Baat has given 34-39 seats to BJP-Sena alliance and 8-10 seats to the Congress-NCP alliance. Times Now and News 24 have given 38 seats to the BJP-Sena alliance.

Sakal and IPSOS have given two contrary predictions. While Sakal exit poll gives BJP-Sena 29 seats, IPSOS has given it 42-45 seats. Sakal has given 19 seats to the Congress-NCP alliance.

The Congress-NCP combine rejected the exit polls and claimed that the alliance would fare much better than what was being predicted.

The BJP-Sena combine said it would hold on to the 41 seats and could even do better, as predicted by some pollsters.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the saffron parties went on to record their best performance in Maharashtra, winning as many as 41 seats and reducing the Congress-NCP alliance to six seats. One seat was won by the Swabhimani Paksha.

Rejecting the exit polls, Raju Shetti, who heads the Swabhimani Paksha and was in alliance with the Congress-NCP for the Lok Sabha polls, said, “The exit polls seem to be managed by the BJP. In Maharashtra, the Congress-led front will win 18 seats and the BJP-Shiv Sena will not cross 30 seats,” he said.

Echoing Shetti’s views, NCP state spokesperson Ankush Kakade said, “We completely reject the exit polls. There is utter confusion among the exit pollsters. All of them have given different predictions which clearly means they have not been able to arrive at one figure. The only good news they have predicted is that Congress-NCP alliance has made progress…” Kakade said based on the feedback, they believed that the Congress-NCP will win 19-20 seats. “There might be close fights, but ultimately we will win,” he said.

State Congress president and former chief minister Ashok Chavan said he does not believe in exit poll predictions. “There are so many factors involved, such as the sample size and techniques used to gauge the voters’ mood. I doubt that exit polls can accurately measure the voters’ mood,” he said. Chavan, who contested from Nanded, said he was confident that the Congress-NCP combine will win 20 or more seats. “The BJP-Sena combine will certainly go down in these elections. We saw the mood among the voters who were angry with the current regime,” he said, adding that the actual poll results would present a completely different picture.

BJP state spokesperson Keshav Upadhaye said the party neither rejected nor accepted the exit poll predictions. “We respect their work, they are doing their job,” he said.

Upadhaye said the alliance would not only hold on to its 41 seats but may even win one or two more. “We will win all the seats that were with us…and may even add a couple more,” he said.

Most exit polls predicted that the BJP would win fewer seats in Maharashtra compared to the 2014 elections, but the Sena would be able to hold on to its seats.

Sena state coordinator Govind Gholve said the alliance could lose no more than three seats. “Though some exit polls predicted that we will lose five or more seats, we don’t agree. At the most, we will lose three seats,” he said.

The Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, an alliance of smaller parties which fielded 37 candidates in the state, was unlikely to win even one of them, according to the exit polls. Ambedkar himself had contested from both Akola and Solapur Lok Sabha seats.

Congress leader Raju Waghmare said, “The VBA was the B-team of the BJP and it was fielded to cause damage to the Congress-NCP alliance. If we get fewer seats, it could be because of the VBA eating into our votes”.

Prakash Ambedkar refused to comment on the exit poll findings and said he will make a statement only after election results were declared. “They have speculated what they wanted to…I will speak after the results,” he said.

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