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BJD predicted to retain hold

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi, May 12: Exit polls have projected adequate seats for the NDA to form the next government at the Centre, putting Narendra Modi on course for the country’s top job if the predictions come true.

As the last phase of the general election drew to an end this evening, research group C-Voter predicted 289 seats for the NDA, headed by the BJP. The UPA, led by the Congress, was forecast to win 101 seats, which would be the ruling party’s worst-ever result if the official result on May 16 matches the projections.

In Odisha, the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD is projected to retain its hold over the state, but its erstwhile ally, the BJP, may emerge the biggest gainer in the electoral sweepstakes. The party may well replace the Congress as the main Opposition in the state.

The CNN-IBN exit poll shows that the BJD, which had won 103 Assembly seats (which later rose to 108) in the state with 38.86 per cent votes, would garner 44 per cent votes this time.

In comparison, the Congress, which had won 27 seats with a vote percentage of 29.10, would be sliding down significantly with just 16 per cent of the total votes polled this time.

The major gainer, however, would be the BJP, which was practically decimated in the state in 2009 when it could manage only six seats with a vote percentage of 15.05. This time round, according to the CNN-IBN exit polls, the party vote percentage would climb up to 25, thus making it the principal Opposition party in the state.

So far the Lok Sabha elections are concerned, the CNN-IBN exit poll gives the BJD anywhere between 12 to 16 seats while projecting the BJP as the major gainer with three to seven seats.

That would be a significant leap considering that the saffron outfit was unable to open its account in the last Lok Sabha elections, a fallout of the collapse of its 11-year-old alliance with the BJD.

The biggest loser, according to CNN-IBN projections, would be the Congress, which would get between one to three seats against the six Lok Sabha seats it had in 2009. The BJD had 14 Lok Sabha seats last time and its ally, the CPI, bagged one. This time, the party has contested all the seats on its own, bidding goodbye to allies such as the CPI, CPM and the Nationalist Congress Party.

The BJP appears to be in a much stronger position, even better than the BJD going by the exit poll results of ABP News, which gives the saffron outfit 10 Lok Sabha seats in the state followed by nine for the BJD and two for the Congress. The only exit poll, which seems to have rated the BJP lowly in Odisha, has come from Times Now, which gives it just one of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in the state. It projects the BJD’s Lok Sabha tally as 15, that is the gain of one seat, against the Congress’s five, which is down by one.

So far the national scenario is concerned, a poll conducted by Cicero for the India Today group, showed the NDA hitting between 261 and 283 seats. A majority of 272 is needed to form a government.

C-Voter said its poll was based on a sample of 1,66,901 randomly selected respondents in all 543 seats up for the election. The pollster said its margin of error is +/-3 per cent at a national level.

The curtain today came down on marathon Lok Sabha elections with an all-time record high turnout of 66.38 per cent as the final phase of polling covering 41 seats in three states replicated the trend of increased voter participation seen in the previous eight rounds.

Pre-election opinion polls and post-voting exit polls both have a patchy record. Several national exit polls over-estimated the BJP’s seat share in the last two general elections in 2004 and 2009. The Congress went on to form coalition governments on both the occasions.

“We will only know if this ‘Modi wave’ has really happened after the election results,” said Praveen Rai, a political analyst at the Delhi-based Centre for the Study of Developing Societies that published a report on exit polls last month. “It still might be more of a media wave, a manufactured wave.”


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