National Democratic Alliance set for big win, say exit polls

National Democratic Alliance set for big win, say exit polls

Narendra Modi on course to be India’s next prime minister

By Sonny Abraham

Published: Wed 14 May 2014, 1:19 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 5:51 PM

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party’s Narendra Modi is set to become India’s next prime minister, with the results of all exit polls released on Monday predicted that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by his party will sweep to a majority, or close to one, in the elections to the country’s Lok Sabha.

The polls also predicted that the ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) would return its poorest performance ever, managing to hold its own in just three states — Kerala, Karnataka and Assam — which are ruled by it.

The surveys showed the NDA doing very well in western, northern and central India.

Exit and opinion polls in Indian elections have been proven to be wide of the mark in recent times, especially in the last two parliamentary elections in 2004 and 2009, when the UPA was written off but managed to win.

But the 2014 elections, polling for which was held in nine phases between April 7 and on Monday, saw Modi, 63, who is the chief minister of Gujarat since late 2001, lead the BJP in a very personalised and a hi-tech election campaign which galvanised the party across the country and caught the imagination of the people everywhere, even in states where the party had no base.

Shortly after polls closed for the last time, the Election Commission gave final figures for the world’s biggest election, saying 551 million had voted out of 814 million — 130 million more than in 2009 — with turnout also at a record high of 66.38 per cent.

With his US Presidential style of campaigning, Modi managed to virtually turn himself into the BJP’s candidate in every constituency where the NDA put up a candidate by promising to provide a strong and stable government, eliminate corruption, bring down prices and bring about rapid economic growth.

The Congress tried to pin him down on his alleged failure to stem the 2002 violence in Gujarat, in which more than a thousand people, mainly Muslims were killed, and a host of other issues, but none of the accusations stuck and they did not seem to matter to most people who seemed to be yearning for a change after 10 years of rule by the UPA.

All the studies predicted that the BJP and the NDA would surpass their previous best, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee became prime minister in 1999.

The Times Now-ORG survey gave the NDA 249 seats, the UPA 148 seats and 146 for the others, which include several regional parties. The CNN-IBN-CSDS survey gave the NDA 270-282 seats and just 92-102 for the UPA, the lowest among all the polls and the only one predicted that the Congress would end up in double digits.

A poll conducted by the research group C-Voter gave the NDA 289 seats and only 101 seats to the Congress. Another survey, conducted by Cicero for the India Today Group, suggested that the NDA could bag between 261 and 283 seats and between 110 and 120 seats for the UPA, with the others getting 150-162 seats.

In the house of 543 elected members, a party or combination would need 272 for a simple majority, but India has had minority governments in the past. Two members are nominated by the President from the Anglo-Indian community.

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