Exit polls hint at return of BJP-led NDA to power
The wait is going to be finally over for the people of India on Thursday when the votes will be counted and results declared to determine as to which party or alliance will rule the world’s largest democracy for the next five years.
According to almost all exit polls that came out on Sunday after the seven-phase election ended, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will retain power comfortably and the All India Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) will come in second.
Following the exit polls, BJP and its partners are celebrating, while the opposition parties are ruling out the projections and urging their supporters to be vigilant against any EVM (electronic voting machine) manipulation.
In the past, Indian exit polls were proved unreliable. So, there is a possibility that the results may change when the official vote counting begins and results are declared Thursday.
Though most of the projections are projecting an NDA victory, it is to be seen if BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, can secure the magic figure — 272 — required to form a government with other parties’ help.
Most of the projections are saying that this time round BJP will fall short of 272 seats. In the 2014 election, BJP had won 282 seats.
According to most of the exit polls, NDA will secure around 300 seats, of which BJP will get maximum 262 — 20 seats lesser than the last election.
On the other hand, the number of seats UPA will get will be between 125 and 140, according to exit polls.
Congress, which ruled India for most of the time since the country’s independence, is predicted to bag maximum 78 seats, which will be much higher than the 2014 polls but not as expected by the party.
Other regional parties will get between 104 and 120 seats, according to exit polls.
Elections to the 542 seats of Lok Sabha, all powerful lower house of the Indian parliament, have been held in 29 states and seven union territories over the past seven weeks.
Although Lok Sabha has 543 seats, voting was held in 542 seats. Voting at one seat in Vellore, Tamil Nadu was cancelled following seizure of at least Rs 12 crore in cash from a Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader's associate during raids.