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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

BJP on a roll in 3 of 5 states, but Delhi hazy: Exit polls 12-05

BJP on a roll in 3 of 5 states, but Delhi hazy: Exit polls

Seen sweeping Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh; Congress may reach the victory mark only in Mizoram; AAP's bright debut may mean hung House for Delhi

If exit polls are anything to go by, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to come to power in at least three — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh — of the five states where Assembly electionshave just ended, leaving the Congress huffing and puffing to reach the victory mark in Mizoram alone.

For Delhi, the polls on Wednesday veered between a hung House prediction and a slim majority for BJP. No poll saw the Congress even close to returning to power in the capital.

That the Congress was looking at a trouncing was clear. But it wasn’t all good for BJP, either. The party’s seat tally, except in Rajasthan, was seen coming down, implying there was no BJP wave yet. Given that the state elections were seen as a test for the party’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, this could be significant.

According to the exit polls, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), contesting its maiden election, may win between 6 and 31 seats in the 70-member Delhi House.

Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Mizoram and Chhattisgarh had gone to polls earlier.

Exit polls suggested the most unequivocal victory for BJP in Rajasthan, displacing the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in the state. The polls gave BJP between 130 and 140 seats in the 200-member Assembly — this would break its own earlier record of 116. For BJP, Rajasthan was followed by Madhya Pradesh, where the incumbent state government was seen likely to get between 121 and 128 seats in the 230-member House. Though this is much less than the current 143 seats the party had won in 2008, the Congress’ gains might be below par, the polls showed.

In Chhattisgarh, the polls give BJP a very slight edge of one or two seats over the Congress, but all polls say the Congress will not be able to reach the victory mark, despite improving its vote share and performance substantially.
Signals from Delhi, however, look confusing. With no party reaching the majority mark, Delhi looked set for a spell of central rule, followed by another round of elections, possibly coinciding with the Lok Sabha polls. This is because AAP has already declared it will not help any party come to power. But BJP was hopeful of reaching the halfway mark with the help of ally Akali Dal and ‘invisible friends’, party leaders said.

At least two exit polls revised BJP’s seat tally upwards as the night wore on, suggesting the party might be within striking distance of reaching the halfway mark in Delhi.

In Mizoram, the Congress was seen getting 19 of the 40 seats to emerge the single largest party, but still one seat short of forming a government. According to exit polls, it was projected to lose a whopping 13 seats. The Mizo National Front was seen getting 14.

Going by the exit polls, the victory for BJP may not be as comprehensive as imagined earlier. But it is equally clear that the Congress is suffering the effects of a factional organisational set up and a serious leadership deficit: For, it has been unable to dislodge BJP in Madhya Pradesh. Most exit polls say BJP’s vote share in Madhya Pradesh will rise between two per cent and five per cent, suggesting it will beat anti-incumbency. Similarly, in Chhattisgarh, too, there is hardly any dent in BJP’s vote share.

If the exit polls turn out to be accurate, it will bode ill for Parliament’s winter session, which begins on Thursday. That’s because little work would be done and BJP would demand the government’s resignation. Any hope of BJP’s cooperation in the passage of government Bills would also be ruled out.