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|November 25, 1998||
Exit Poll: Congress will win Delhi, Rajasthan; BJP MP; MNF/MPC Mizoram
George Iype in Delhi
Even as Delhi and three states had a largely peaceful assembly election on Wednesday, an exit poll brought bad news to the main political contenders, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.
While the exit poll predicted the ruling BJP will be voted out in Delhi and Rajasthan, the Congress could lose Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram.
The exit poll conducted by the Delhi-based Development and Research Services for Doordarshan said a strong anti-incumbency wave is set to seal the fate of four chief ministers -- Sushma Swaraj in Delhi, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat in Rajasthan, Digvijay Singh in Madhya Pradesh and Lalthanhawla in Mizoram.
The exit poll covered 12,000 voters in 110 constituencies across four states. Pollster G L Narasimha Rao, who conducted the poll, says it has an accuracy of 90 per cent.
The poll predicts that the Congress will wrest power in Delhi from the BJP by bagging 51 seats. The BJP's share of seats could come down to 14 against the 49 seats it won in the 1993 assembly election. That year, the Congress won 14 seats while other parties won 7 seats.
In Rajasthan, the poll says the Congress will oust the eight-year-old BJP government by winning 111 seats against the 56 seats it won in the 1993 assembly election. The BJP, the poll says, will win 50 seats. Other parties and Congress rebels are expected to win 36 seats in the 200-member assembly. The election has been countermanded in three constituencies following the death of candidates.
In Madhya Pradesh, the exit poll gives 169 seats to the BJP, 133 seats to the Congress and 18 seats to other parties. It pegs the BJP's vote share at 42 per cent. The Congress is two per cent behind, at 40 per cent. Other parties, including the Bahujan Samaj Party, will take 18 per cent of the vote.
Compared to the 1993 assembly poll, the exit poll noted a + 4 per cent swing for the BJP, and a -1 per cent swing and a -3 per cent swing against the Congress and other parties respectively in MP.
In MP's Chhattisgarh region, the BJP is expected to win 50 out of 90 seats, while the Congress could win 38 seats. Others, including the BSP, are expected to win just two seats. The BJP, the poll predicts, will poll 44 per cent of the votes in Chhattisgarh which is likely to earn statehood soon, while the Congress may take 41 per cent. Other parties are pegged at 15 per cent.
In Mizoram, trends indicate that the MNF/MPC alliance has taken 52 per cent of the vote, with the Congress way behind at 25 per cent. Other parties have taken 24 per cent of the vote. There is a -8 per cent swing against the Congress while a 12 per cent swing has been recorded in favour of the MNF/MPC alliance.
In 1993, the Congress won 16 seats, the MNF/MPC won 14 seats while other parties won 10 seats.
The exit poll said voters are disillusioned with the rise in prices of vegetables and essential commodities.
Sixty-five per cent of the voters polled in the capital said prices were the main issue for them this election. Seven per cent voted on the issue of better amenities while only four per cent voted for a better government.
The exit poll noted a swing of -2 per cent for the BJP and a swing of +13 per cent for the Congress in the capital.
While the BJP dismissed the exit poll results, the Congress said it anticipates the verdict to be on expected lines.
"We will wait for the actual result to comment on our party's performance in this election. The exit poll can be grossly wrong," BJP general secretary Venkaiah Naidu told Rediff On The NeT.
While the BJP leadership has drawn comfort from a likely win in Madhya Pradesh, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee admitted in Lucknow today that the rise in prices has been the most important issue this election. He said the fall-out of the election could result in a mid-term general election.
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