Exit polls forecast the return of a BJP-led government at the Centre with a comfortable majority to the National Democratic Alliance. Most polls, barring India Today-Axis and News 18-IPSOS and Today’s Chanakya, showed that BJP on its own may fall shy of the majority mark.
All six major exit polls predicted NDA crossing the majority mark. Times Now-VMR predicted 306 seats for the NDA in which the BJP’s standalone number was pegged at 262. UPA was at 132, as per this poll, with Congress at 78. ABP News-Nielsen, which earlier predicted 267 for NDA, also revised its number later in the evening to 277.
The India Today-Axis survey predicted the highest number for NDA, at 339-365, while UPA could end well below the three-digit number at 77. As per Today’s Chanakya, NDA is slated to get 350. NewsX-Neta App gave the lowest number to NDA at 242.
Further, exit polls gave an edge to the NDA over the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party Mahagathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh. Yet, there were noticeable variations with ABP-Nielsen being the only one which gave the grand alliance a clear win at 56 seats. Most other polls projected between 44 and 68 for the NDA in India’s most populous state. Times Now-VMR gave 58 seats to the NDA. Most polls in the state gave Congress two seats.
A similar variation was also visible in the case of West Bengal. Some of the polls projected a sizeable gain for the BJP while others indicated continuing dominance for the Trinamool Congress. The News18-IPSOS survey forecast 36-38 seats for the TMC and just 3-4 for the BJP. At the other extreme, India Today-Axis has projected a tough contest between the TMC and the BJP with both getting around 19 to 23 seats.
In Odisha, exit polls have indicated considerable gains for the BJP. The lowest for the BJP is 7 by News 18-IPSOS while the highest is at 15-19 by India Today-Axis. The BJP currently has only one seat from the state and was below Congress in the 2014 vote share. Exit polls are also indicating a closer contest in Tamil Nadu.
In Tamil Nadu most political pundits were of the view that the election would be one-sided in favour of the Congress-DMK combine. While the Congress-DMK alliance continues to lead, according to most exit polls, the projection is that the BJP-AIADMK alliance may also bag quite a few seats. Times Now-VMR survey has predicted nine seats for the BJP-AIADMK alliance and 29 for Congress-DMK alliance. News18-IPSOS survey predicts 22-24 seats for Congress-DMK and 14-16 seats for BJP-AIADMK alliance. India Today-Axis poll, however, predicts a clean sweep for Congress-DMK with the alliance getting 34 to 38 seats in the state. The latter survey is predicting only zero to four seats for the BJP-AIADMK alliance.
Overall, the vote share of the BJP, according to most exit polls, stayed above 40%. The Congress too showed some improvement, averaging around 25% but most regional parties seemed to have lost some sheen. Final results will be declared on Thursday.