With election campaign in full swing in five poll-bound states, an opinion poll by C-Voter has projected a thumping majority for the Congress with 145 seats in Rajasthan and a simple majority in Madhya Pradesh.
The Center For Voting Opinions and Trends in Election Research (C-Voter), in its November (week 2) poll has also projected a clear majority of 64 seats to the Congress-Telugu Desam Party combine in Telangana and a very close fight in Chhattisgarh with a slender edge for the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Polls in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana will be held between November 12 and December 7. Counting of votes will be taken up together in all the five states on December 11.
The survey in Rajasthan gave the ruling BJP only 45 seats with 39.7 per cent vote share, against 47.9 per cent of the opposition Congress.
In Madhya Pradesh, the C-Voter poll projections gave the BJP 107 seats with a vote share of 41.5 per cent, against Congress' vote share of 42.3 per cent and a simple majority of 116 seats.
The opinion poll did not give a clear majority to any party in Mizoram, with the Mizo National Front projected to lead with 17 seats, followed by the Congress with 12 seats and Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) with nine seats.
Predicting a close fight in Chhattisgarh, C-Voter poll survey gave 41 seats to the Congress with a 42.2 per cent vote share, with six seats to others and 16.2 per cent vote share. The BJP is projected to get a slightly lower 41.6 per cent vote share and 43 seats.
The poll survey of November week-2 done for ABP News and Republic TV has a total sample size of 67,848 for five states, with 13,377 in Rajasthan, 25,745 in Madhya Pradesh and 13,911 in Chhattisgarh, 13,624 in Telangana and 1191 in Mizoram.
In contrast, C-Voter has claimed that the CNX poll survey for Times Now and India TV in Rajasthan has projected 115 seats for Congress against 75 to BJP, while CSDS survey for ABP has projected 110 to Congress and 84 to BJP and Cfore poll survey for Asianet giving 130 to Congress and 65 to BJP.
For Madhya Pradesh, the agency has claimed the CNX poll survey projected 122 seats for the BJP and 95 for the Congress, with CSDS giving 116 to the saffron party and 105 to the Congress.
In Chhattisgarh, the CNX poll survey has projected that the BJP could get 50 and Congress 30 seats, with others getting 10 seats, while the CSDS poll gave 56 to the BJP, 25 to the Congress and nine to others.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said while the C-Voter survey is heartening and interesting, the situation on the ground is that the party is winning in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and also in Telangana in a resounding manner.
"We hope to cross the two-third mark in Rajasthan and hope to get close to 140 seats in Madhya Pradesh and over 50-mark in Chhattisgarh. The coalition of Congress will romp home confidently, trouncing the BJP stooge TRS in Telangana. Congress will also retain Mizoram," he told PTI.
BJP spokesperson Bizay Sonkar Shastri rejecting the opinion polls, which gave Congress an edge in some poll-bound states, asserted that his party will not only form governments in the three states ruled by it, but also be a part of the ruling dispensation in Telangana and Mizoram.
He said the BJP is heading for a 'big victory' in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, and that the campaign by 'our magic man', a reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will give further boost to the party's prospects.
Congress releases manifesto in Chhattisgarh, promises farm sops
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Friday released the party's manifesto for Chhattisgarh which promises farm loan waiver, minimum support price for crops as per the Swaminathan Commission recommendations and ban on liquor sales.
The state will go to polls in two phases on November 12 and November 20 and counting of votes will take place on December 11.
Gandhi released the manifesto, titled 'Jan Ghoshna Patra' in Rajnandgaon, which is the constituency of Chief Minister Raman Singh.
Addressing a press conference on the occasion, Gandhi said that farmers' loans would be waived within 10 days of the party attaining power.
The MSP for paddy will be fixed at Rs 2,500 per quintal and maize at Rs 1,700 per quintal, Gandhi said.
Besides, a provision of pension for farmers aged above 60 years has also been planned, the Congress chief said.
The manifesto also promised halving electricity bills for domestic consumers, provisioning of houses and land to urban and rural families respectively.
Every family will be given 35 kgs of rice every month at Re 1 only, he said.
Tackling employment under the party's 'Ghar Ghar Rozgaar, Har Ghar Rozgaar' scheme, the manifesto underlines apprenticeship programmes and employment opportunities for the
It also promised a monthly stipend to 10 lakh unemployed youths under the party's 'Rajiv Mitr Yojana'.
The manifesto mentioned the setting up of special women's police stations, women help cells in police stations and strict enforcement of laws related to women.
A special conveyance for women for late night commuting has also been proposed in the manifesto.
Emphasising on health care services, the manifesto proposes introduction of a 'universal health care' scheme in which free and quality services will be provided to those in need.
It also proposes converting six medical colleges into multi-speciality hospitals, along with bringing 1,000 specialists on board in the first year.
Air ambulances will be provisioned for areas like Bastar, Sarguja and Gariaband's Supebeda, Gandhi said.
Special attention on improving the quality of education through emphasis on quality of teachers has also been listed in the manifesto.
The manifesto also promises an increase in the minimum support price (MSP) on 70-85 forest crops, and fixing Rs 4,000 per bag for 'tendu patta' workers.
It speaks about fixing a "respectable income" for daily wage labourers, increase in income bands of Class 3 and 4 employees and distribution of 7th Pay Commission surplus in three phases.
It also promises increase in the pension being given to police families who have lost a kin in Naxal attacks.
The Congress manifesto speaks about the establishment of sports hostels and scholarships for economically weak sports persons.
The manifesto promises a ban on sale of liquor in the state, adding that Gram Sabhas in Scheduled areas like Surguja and Bastar will be vested with the power to decide on such a ban in these places.
A policy will be drafted to take on the menace of Naxalism and serious steps will be taken for talks, Gandhi said, adding that each Naxal-affected panchayat will be given a package of Rs 1 crore for community development works.
Special laws will be enacted to ensure protection to journalists, lawyers and doctors, he added.
In forest areas like Lemru and Korba, elephant and wildlife sanctuaries will be set up and steps would be taken to reduce human-elephant conflict, Gandhi added.
In the 2013 assembly polls, the BJP had won 49 seats, Congress 39, the Bahujan Samaj Party 1 and independent 1 in the 90-member House.