State Congress president Ashok Chavan on Sunday dismissed the exit poll predictions for the Lok Sabha elections and questioned the accuracy of such surveys, many of which indicated that the Congress-NCP alliance is likely to win between eight and 18 seats in the state.
Claiming that as per the assessment of the Congress, the opposition alliance would win 24-25 seats, of the total 48 seats in the state, Chavan said: “Counting of votes will take place on May 23. Our own assessment is that we will do well. The Congress-led alliance will win 24-25 seats.”
Questioning the accuracy of the exit poll surveys, he said, “We do not know the sample size of the surveys. Also the way in which the polls are conducted is not known.”
Former minister and Nationalist Congress Party’s Nawab Malik also claimed that the “exit polls would be proven wrong”. “The Congress-NCP alliance will win at least 20 seats in the state. Overall the NDA won’t cross 225 seats. Non-NDA and non-UPA players will play a major role in government formation,” he said.
The BJP, too, questioned the accuracy of the exit poll results. Most of the exit poll surveys have predicted that the BJP-Shiv Sena combine will incur losses in the state.
“We expect to achieve something close to our performance in 2014 in Maharashtra. We will win at least 40 seats,” Vishwas Pathak, BJP spokesperson, said. Pathak, however, conceded that the “victory margins would be much tighter this time around”.
“Even in 2014, exit polls weren’t giving the BJP more than 200 seats (nationally). We won 282. Even this time, we expect the BJP alone to win over 272 seats. As a combine, the NDA will win more than 330 seats (nationally),” he said.
Most exit polls also forecast that the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) — an alliance of Dalits, Muslims, and other marginalised groups that made its electoral debut this year — was unlikely to win a single seat in the state.
The election rallies of the untested political alliance, spearheaded by Prakash Ambedkar of the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh and Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), had drawn big crowds, giving jitters to the two main political formations in the state.
The VBA had contested all the 48 seats in the state. Ambedkar, grandson of Bhimrao Ambedkar, dubbed the exit polls as “nothing but a TRP exercise”. Claiming that he does not trust such surveys, he said, “In the past, every exit poll has failed.”
Ambedkar himself is in the fray from two seats – Akola and Solapur.
“Since we’re an untested alliance, I’m not in a position to give you my assessment of how many seats we will win. But I can tell you that we won’t go dry. We will open our account,” Ambedkar said.