The Bharatiya Janata Party appeared set to retain power with a bigger mandate in Maharashtra, where it is in alliance with the Shiv Sena, and Haryana, as exit polls forecast a facile victory for the party in the two states and rout for its rivals led by the Congress.
Exit polls, broadcast soon after the polling ended, varied widely in their projection of seats for the rival alliances but an emphatic victory with more than two-third seats for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in Maharashtra and Haryana was their common theme.
The India Today-Axis exit poll projected 166-194 seats for the BJP-Shiv Sena in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly and 72-90 for the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance.
|MAHARASHTRA (288 seats)|
|India Today-My Axis||166-194||72-90||22-34|
|Republic TV- Jan Ki Baat||216-230||50-59||8-12|
The exit poll by News18-IPSOS gave the BJP a near-majority on its own by predicting a whopping 142 seats for the party and 102 for its ally Shiv Sena.
The Congress and NCP will bag 17 and 22 seats only, it has predicted.
The ABP-C Voter predicted 204 seats for the BJP-Shiv Sena and 69 for the Congress-NCP while the corresponding figures by Times Now were 230 and 48.
In Haryana, the extent of a BJP win was projected to be even more dominant.
The ABP-C Voter forecast 72 and eight seats for the BJP and the Congress respectively. The CNN-IPSOS projected 75 and 10 seats for the two parties respectively.
The Times Now survey gave the BJP and the Congress 71 and 11 seats respectively.
The poll of polls brought out by the NDA gave the BJP and the Congress 66 and 14 seats respectively in Haryana, and 211 and 64 for the saffron alliance and the Congress-NCP in Maharashtra.
The BJP had brought the issue of Article 370 nullification and national security at the centre of its campaign with development works its state governments playing the second fiddle.
|HARYANA (90 seats)|
|Republic TV- Jan Ki Baat||52-63||15-19||12-19|
In 2014 the BJP and the Sena had won 122 seats and 63 seats respectively followed by 42 and 41 seats by the Congress and the NCP. All four parties had contested independently in the previous assembly polls.
In Haryana, the BJP had won 47 followed by Indian National Lok Dal's 19 and 15 of the Congress.
The BJP claimed exit polls predicting the saffron party’s victory was voters' tribute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's governance and leadership while the Congress debunked it as a ‘speculative tool’ that has often been off the mark.
Congress general secretary K C Venugopal said the party has faith in the judgement of voters and this will be reflected on the day of counting.
"Our ground feedback makes us believe that unemployment, farm distress, economic crisis and painful living conditions due to the misgovernance of the state governments of Haryana and Maharashtra are going to decide the results. We think that people would have remembered these issues while polling and it will reflect on the day of the counting," he said.
BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said the exit polls clearly show that his party is headed for a spectacular victory in Maharashtra and Haryana.
"The projected big wins are a voter's tribute to the prime minister's unmatched governance and leadership at the national level and an effective, quality governance in the states.
"Opposition parties which are lacking credibility and implementing negative political agenda, are playing the same old-style politics and are steeped in corruption. They are unable to offer a challenge even in their erstwhile citadels. The new politics based on positive performance is powering the BJP's continued success," Rao said.
Another BJP spokesperson, Nalin Kohli, said, "It is a reiteration and reaffirmation of the credibility of the leadership of PM Modi in terms of his positive agenda of change that focuses on development and building a new India for aspirational India."
He said it also confirms that by pursuing a positive agenda the state government and its leadership stand a chance of being rewarded by voters.
Congress Secretary, communications, Pranav Jha said the voters have reserved their verdict and it will be finally delivered on October 24.
"The Congress has always believed that opinion polls and exit polls are at the best, speculative tools that have been way off the mark on more often than not. We all know BJP was more in the media, bill boards and WhatsApp rather than on the ground.
For all the diversion that the BJP and Modi ji attempted in the name of Article 370 and America-China, we expect the people to vote on the issues of joblessness, economic slowdown, factory shutdown and agrarian crisis in the Maharashtra and Haryana," he said.
"These opinion polls certainly do not reflect ground realities. Wait for the counting day, the results will be opposite of what the exit polls are saying," Jha said.