Exit polls: BJP all the way in Maharashtra and Haryana, Cong distant second

Exit polls: BJP all the way in Maharashtra and Haryana, Cong distant second

The BJP, confident of securing two-thirds majority in both the states, has called a meeting of its top leadership on Tuesday to take stock of the exi

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The BJP, confident of securing two-thirds majority in both the states, has called a meeting of its top leadership on Tuesday to take stock of the exit polls

Archis Mohan  |  New Delhi 

All the exit polls for and Haryana Assembly elections, released after the end of polling in the states on Monday, predicted a return of Bharatiya Janata Party-led governments in these states. The exit polls, however, differed in the quantum of the victory of the BJP and its allies, and that of the defeat of the Congress, and other opposition parties. The counting of votes is on Thursday.

The BJP, confident of securing two-thirds majority in both the states, has called a meeting of its top leadership on Tuesday to take stock of the exit polls, as well as its internal assessments.

The party is expected to showcase the assembly poll wins as vindication of Narendra Modi government’s policies at the Centre, especially scrapping of provisions of Article 370 and efficient implementation of its social welfare schemes, but also a defeat of the opposition criticism on economic slowdown.

With some exit polls predicting that the BJP could reach the halfway mark of 144-seats on its own in Maharashtra, a point of interest will be how it accommodates its ally, the Shiv Sena, in the government, and whether it agrees to have Sena’s youth leader Aditya Thackeray as the deputy chief minister to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The BJP’s wins will strengthen Fadnavis as well as Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar. The BJP and Sena did not have a pre-poll alliance for the 2014 Assembly polls.

Maharashtra assembly polls, Haryana Assembly elections, exit polls
The ramifications for the opposition are likely to be more severe. The Congress is currently in the midst of a power struggle between the veterans, led by Ahmed Patel and others, and its younger leaders whom Rahul Gandhi leads.

Recent events suggest a denouement in this tussle could be round the corner. Last week, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda did not turn up for a Rahul Gandhi rally in Mahendragarh, and Rajasthan Deputy CM Sachin Pilot publicly criticized Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot-led government.

In the run up to the polls, several of those close to Rahul Gandhi have either been ejected from key positions, or have quit. In Maharashtra, key Congress leaders like Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan and Sushilkumar Sinde restricted themselves in campaigning in their pocket boroughs.

The Congress is at cross purposes ideologically as well. On Monday, party MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi tweeted his praise for freedom fighter V D Savarkar. Congress MP Jairam Ramesh tweeted against the government signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), even telling a Sangh Parivar economist how he had opposed such free trade agreements during the UPA years.

The poll results could mark the end of careers of several senior Congress politicians in both and Haryana. The poll will also determine the fate of the Nationalist Congress Party, whether its chief Sharad Pawar’s extensive campaigning managed to turn the tide for that party and gets it respectable number of seats. Pawar has tried to reinvigorate the party by fielding younger leaders after several of the middle rung leaders joined the Sena and BJP to protect their empires in sugar and bank co-cooperatives. Pawar himself is also under the scanner of probe agencies.

The India Today-Axis exit poll projected 166-194 seats for the BJP-Shiv Sena in the 288-member assembly and 72-90 for the Congress-NCP alliance. 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 forecast. The ABP-C Voter predicted 204 seats for the BJP-Shiv Sena and 69 for the Congress-NCP.

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 poll of polls of some television channels gave the BJP and the Congress 66 and 14 seats respectively in Haryana, and 211 and 64 for the BJP-led NDA and the Congress-NCP in Maharashtra.

First Published: Mon, October 21 2019. 21:48 IST

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