Assam, Puducherry may fall in BJP’s kitty
The statistical details may vary from exit poll to exit poll that streamed into public domain at the lapse of 7 p.m. embargo of the Election Commission, all pollsters appear unanimous that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) achieved a quantum jump in West Bengal and retained its hold in Assam. If Puducherry showed a BJP tilt, the outcomes for Tamil Nadu and Kerala proved to be almost on the dotted line. No matter the details that would get confirmed only on May 2, the single most critical factor in this sort of mini-national election in five States appeared to be the BJP with much of the campaigning woven around its performance in governance at the Centre and the efficacy of its legendary electioneering machinery. Exit polls on Thursday forecast a tight contest between the incumbent Trinamool Congress and the BJP in the high-profile West Bengal Assembly polls and put the BJP alliance ahead in Assam, while projecting a win for the ruling Left alliance in Kerala and for the DMK-led Opposition in Tamil Nadu.
The exit poll numbers were largely a setback for the Congress, which while falling short in Assam and Kerala may also lose its Government in the Union Territory of Puducherry to the Opposition alliance of AINRC-BJP-AIADMK. Exit polls were, however, divided in their forecast for the West Bengal polls, where the BJP ran a high-octane campaign in its bid to capture power in the State for the first time by ending Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s 10-year-old reign. Republic-CNX polls gave the BJP a slight edge by protecting 138-148 seats for the party in the 294-seat Assembly and 128-138 to the TMC. Congress and Left alliance may get 15-20 seats. However, Times Now-C Voter predicted a clear majority for the TMC by projecting 158 seats for the party, 115 for the BJP and 14-25 seats for Cong-Left alliance. Jan Ki Baat exit polls, however, predicted a strong majority for the BJP in West Bengal, giving it 162-185 seats, against 104-121 to the ruling TMC.
The TMC had won 211 seats in 2016 and the BJP only three in the 294-member West Bengal Assembly. In Assam, India Today-Axis My India predicted 75-85 seats for the BJP-led combine in the 126-member Assembly and 40-50 to the Congress-led Opposition. Today’s Chanakya predicted 61-79 seats for the BJP alliance and 47-65 for the Congress-led Opposition in Assam. Republic-CNX gave the ruling BJP alliance 74-84 and the Opposition 40-50, while Times Now-C Voter gave them 65 and 59 seats respectively. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan may defy the norm in his State of the two main alliances alternating in power by leading the CPI(M)-led alliance to another spell in power, going by various exit polls. Axis My India predicted a big win for the LDF by projecting 104-120 seats for it in the 140-member Assembly and predicting only 20-36 seats to the Congress-led UDF. Today’s Chanakya forecast 93-111 seats for the LDF and 26-44 for the UDF in 140-member strong Kerala Assembly. CNX predicted a closer fight but still projected a majority of 72-80 seats for the ruling alliance against 54-64 for the Opposition.
In another key southern State, Tamil Nadu, Axis My India and CNX forecast a big win for the DMK-led alliance that also includes the Congress. They gave 175-195 and 160-170 respectively for the DMK-Congress-led alliance in the 234-member Assembly. The AIADMK-led alliance, which includes the BJP, was projected to get 38-54 and 58-68 respectively. Today’s Chanakya predicted 164-186 seats for the DMK combine and 46-68 for the incumbent AIADMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu. In Puducherry, the opinion polls have already given a significant boost to the NDA camp in 30-member Assembly. While the BJP has contested the polls in alliance with the AIADMK and AINRC, the Congress has allied with the DMK. According to the Times Now opinion poll and Republic CNX Exit polls, the NDA is set to win around 18 seats while the UPA is expected to win around 12 seats. The C-Voter exit poll projected 19-23 seats for the NDA. The UPA will win 8 seats with a projected range of 8-10 seats.