Advantage BJP In Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot May Lose Power, Show 2 Exit Polls

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Ashok Gehlot is looking to become a four-time Chief Minister of Rajasthan (File).

New Delhi:

The BJP is set to defeat the Congress and return to power in Rajasthan – a state that has voted out the ruling party in every election for the past three decades, according to exit polls data released Thursday. Rajasthan voted in a single phase on November 25. Results will be announced on Sunday.

The Congress’ Ashok Gehlot, it seems, faces a daunting task in his bid to become a four-time Chief Minister, with eight of nine exit polls giving the BJP a comfortable, if not a strong, victory.

The biggest predictions in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party are Republic TV-Matrize, which gives the BJP a massive 115-130 seats, and the Times Now-ETG, which gives it 108-128 seats.

Neither gives the Congress more than 75 seats; Times Now gives it a (low) lower range of 56.

There are 200 seats in the Rajasthan Assembly, although polling was held for only 199 after the Congress’ Gurmeet Koonar, the Karanpur MLA, died at Delhi’s AIIMS. The majority mark, though, is still 101.

Among the other exit polls, Jan Ki Baat, P-Marq and TV9 Bharatvarsh-Polstrat all gave the BJP a minimum of 100 seats; the first two gave the saffron party an upper margin of over 120 seats.

ABP News-C Voter and Dainik Bhaskar also gave the BJP big wins.

ABP News said the BJP could win between 94 and 114 seats compared to the Congress’ 71-91, while Dainik Bhaskar believes the BJP could claim 98 to 105 seats, and the Congress no more than 95.

The only exit polls that might give the Congress some hope are India Today-My Axis and India TV-CNX, although even India Today gave the BJP an upper margin of 100 seats and 86-106 for the ruling party.

India Today gave the Congress 94-104 seats, with the BJP just marginally behind at 80-90. Significantly, these (and TV9 Bharatvarsh) are the only exit polls to give the Congress over 100 seats.

Health Warning: Exit polls often get it wrong.

NDTV’s Pre-Poll Survey

The pre-poll survey gave the PM a five per cent lead over Mr Gehlot in the battle of big names, suggesting the BJP had an edge. While that seems to be the case – based on exit polls – the Congress will take heart from the fact only 24 per cent of respondents were dissatisfied with their government.

READ | ‘Modi Factor’ To Give BJP Edge In Rajasthan? NDTV’s Opinion Poll Says…

A survey of over 3,000 people – across 30 of Rajasthan’s 200 Assembly constituencies over a week starting October 24 – threw up a mixed bag of results, giving the ruling Congress a thumbs-up on some issues, such as state-run schools and hospitals, and handing it a ‘frowny face’ emoji on others.

What Happened In 2018?

In 2018 the Congress benefitted from the ‘revolving door’ policy and won 100 seats to the BJP’s 73. This was a significant margin even though vote shares were almost equal. The BJP’s haul underlined the strength of the anti-incumbency factor; in 2013 it won 163 seats and 45 per cent of the votes.

The BJP’s 90-seat bleed was snapped up by its rivals, with the Congress gaining by 79 seats.

The Congress did not, though, win majority on its own and needed support from Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, which won six seats, before Ashok Gehlot could be sworn in as Chief Minister.

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