Exit polls that predicted a primacy of Congress in Chhattisgarh and Telangana and that of the BJP in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, have been hotly contested by both camps in states they were predicted to lose. While exit polls are known to get it wrong many a time, their predictions proved a touchy topic in this round of elections, seen as the semi-finals before next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
While the BJP doubled down on claims that they will win Madhya Pradesh, where many exit polls predicted a close fight, the Congress scoffed at the suggestion that they might not have a re-run of the 2018 victory. The party’s government had collapsed two years later as its senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia crossed over to the BJP with 20-plus MLAs.
Former Chief Minister Kamal Nath, who is helming the state Congress in Madhya Pradesh, declared that the country is run by “vision, not television”.
“Exit poll results are very diverse. We cannot say anything about it. I can assure you that the Congress will get more than 130 seats in Madhya Pradesh,” said his party colleague Digvijaya Singh. “People want transformation. People are fed up with CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan,” he added.
NDTV poll of Polls, an aggregate of nine exit polls, indicates that the BJP may wind up with 124 of the state’s 230 seats, where the majority mark is 116. The Congress may get 102 seats.
A similar script played out in neighbouring Chhattisgarh – only in the BJP camp — after almost all exit polls gave the Congress government led by Bhupesh Baghel an edge. NDTV Poll of Polls – an aggregate of nine exit polls — indicated that 49 of the state’s 90 seats can go to the Congress and 38 to the BJP.
“Exit polls have a limited size. The sample size of the BJP is huge,” state BJP chief Arun Sao was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“I have been roaming in Chhattisgarh for the past 1.5 years. I have gone to each Vidhan Sabha constituency and had conversations with people. On that basis, I can say that on December 3, the BJP will come to power with a clear majority,” he added.
“Everyone can have their way with exit polls. The BJP will form the government. The reason for this is that people want change,” said the BJP’s Prem Prakash Pandey.
The claims and counterclaims were also strong in Rajasthan, where exit polls predicted the state will remain faithful to its revolving-door tradition and vote out the ruling Congress.
“Exit polls indicate that ‘raaj nahi rivaz’ (trend, not rule) is set to change in Rajasthan as the Congress is going to win a majority,” said Gourav Vallabh, spokesperson of the Congress which is hoping to buck the trend.
Banking on a marginally higher polling figure, the BJP, meanwhile, insisted that the people of Rajasthan want to end the Congress rule.
“The people of Rajasthan want freedom from the Congress, given their record of corruption. The BJP is going to form the government with a majority in Rajasthan as well as Madhya Pradesh,” said BJP MP Baba Balaknath, who is the party candidate from the Tijara assembly constituency.
NDTV Poll of Polls indicated that the BJP can get 104 of the state’s 200 seats, the Congress 85.