Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hat-trick? Exit polls predict sweep for Modi

Narendra Modi is all set for an enviable hat-trick. If exit polls have got it right, Modi is poised to record a thumping win in the assembly elections in Gujarat, possibly by a two-thirds majority, thus setting the stage for him to make a virtually undeniable claim to lead the BJP - and the NDA - in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. In Himachal Pradesh, the pollsters predict a photo-finish with the Congress perhaps just a touch ahead. Only one poll gives the Congress a clear lead. The results of the Gujarat and Himachal polls will be announced on Thursday. In the four exit polls for which projections were available on Gujarat, the BJP's estimated tally ranges between 118 and 140 in a 182-member assembly. Even the lowest projection, therefore, puts the party within touching distance of 121 seats - the number required for a two-thirds majority and higher than BJP's tally of 117 seats won in 2007. All the polls also seem to agree that Keshubhai Patel's GPP, seen by some analysts as a potential spoiler in these elections, has come a cropper. The ABP News-Nielsen poll projects 126 seats for the BJP, 50 for the Congress and only two for the GPP. The remaining four are picked up by 'others'. In the same ballpark are two other polls. The one done for Aaj Tak and Headlines Today by ORG says the BJP will win between 118 and 128 seats, the Congress 50-56, the GPP one or two and others between four and six. The CVoter poll projects 120 seats for the BJP, 58 for the Congress and two each for the GPP and others. The News24-Chanakya Today poll gives Modi an even more comprehensive sweep. It predicts a tsunami of a wave for Modi, giving him 140 seats against just 40 for the Congress and two for others. It does not give a specific figure for the GPP. While the CNN-IBN-CSDS post-poll survey has also made some projections for Gujarat, they are confined to those seats that polled in the first phase of the elections on December 13. Even in these, the indications are that the BJP will do very well and come back to power, giving Modi three wins on the trot. In Himachal, there were three polls available and two of them suggest an extremely close race. The CNN-IBN-CSDS post-poll survey projects a dead heat with both the Congress and the BJP winning between 29 and 35 seats in a 68-member house. The CVoter poll gives the Congress 34, exactly half the strength of the house and the BJP 31, leaving three 'others' perhaps holding the balance. Once again, the News24-Chanakya Today poll is a bit of an outlier with the Congress projected to win 40 seats and the BJP just 23, others picking up the remaining five. While the polls have indicated varying margins of error, this makes little difference to the big picture in Gujarat: Modi's triumphant re-election.

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