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regular-article-logo Thursday, 22 February 2024

Exit polls point to Congress sweep that wasn't, BJP set for landslide victory in MP state elections, but it's tight in Rajasthan

BJP ecstatic as party performs stronger than expected in run-up to 2024 Lok Sabha elections

Paran Balakrishnan Published 01.12.23, 10:25 AM
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It’s bad news for the Congress in Madhya Pradesh with the BJP looking set to sweep back to power in the state, according to exit polls. Congress could possibly squeak a return in Chhattisgarh. But it’s a cliffhanger in Rajasthan, which has been changing governments every five years since the 1990s, with many polls forecasting that the BJP will turf out Congress. Mizoram appears headed for a hung assembly with the BJP-allied Mizo National Front looking set to lose power and rising regional party Zoram People's Movement, which emphasised youth power in its campaign, faring well.

The prophecies that there would be a sharp voter swing against the BJP in the assembly elections in three north Indian states appear to have been way off the mark, if the top exit polls are getting their forecasts right.

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The outcome of the state elections in which more than 160 million people or one-sixth of the electorate were eligible to vote – could indicate an important surge of momentum for the BJP ahead of next year’s general elections. The campaigns have been a dress rehearsal for strategies to be used by the main parties in the national vote.

With the caveat that some exit polls have been stunningly wrong in the past, these voter findings appear to contradict all the pre-poll predictions of political pundits who had confidently said that Madhya Pradesh would safely go to the Congress and the BJP might get Rajasthan . Also, it’s clear that a greater number of women have voted in favour of the BJP in all three north Indian states.

The News 24-Today’s Chanakya also put the BJP far in front with about 151 seats out of 230 in the Madhya Pradesh assembly. The poll reckoned that the Congress would only get 74 seats.

By contrast, the ABP-CVoter exit poll gave Congress a slight edge in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. The poll predicted that the Congress is likely to win around 113-137 and the BJP would get about 88-112. Congress. This would indicate the Congress will get around 44.1 per cent of the vote and by comparison the BJP would get 40.7 per cent. Polls indicate that BJP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is still popular in the state and is likely to retain his job if the party wins in the state.

In Telangana, the Congress could flip the state, ousting K. Chandrashekar Rao’s regional Bharat Rashtra Samithi which has ruled the state since its founding in 2014. While the BJP ran an energetic campaign, those efforts aren’t expected to translate into many seats in the 119-member assembly. The BJP also failed to win in Karnataka earlier this year.

The mood in the BJP appeared to be ecstatic, especially with the unexpectedly strong performance in Madhya Pradesh staying with the BJP.

There are some strong variations in the forecasts of the exit pollsters. News 24-Today’s Chanakya put the Congress ahead in Rajasthan with around 101 seats. The BJP, according to it, is behind with 89 seats and independents could get around nine seats. In sharp contrast, ABP-CVoter predicted that the BJP would be out in front with 94-114 seats. It reckons that Congress will only get between 71-91 seats. ABP-CVoter

ABP-CVoter also predicted that in Chhattisgarh the Congress would stay out in front with between 41 and 53 seats, despite investigations over corruption allegations against chief minister Bhupesh Baghel. BJP would be behind with 36-48 seats.

One prediction is that if the BJP wins 90 seats in Rajasthan there are strong chances that Vasundhara Raje Scindia could be a crucial figure who could pull independents towards her party.

In percentage terms, India Today-Axis My India predicted that in Rajasthan Congress could get 42 per cent of the vote, only slightly ahead of the BJP at 41 per cent. The Congress was seen snaring 44 per cent of the women’s vote. With the vote so close, it’s clear that the final vote could go either way.

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