A day after several exit polls unanimously predicted a BJP-led government in India, with only the margins of victory differing, party leaders said Tuesday that they eagerly await the vote count Friday and were confident of an easy win.
Party leaders and those close to the leadership who spoke to IANS said that neither the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nor its prime ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi were discussing government formation for now.
"Right now there is no talk on government formation. Our priority is on the 16th (Friday). We are focusing on the counting (of votes)," BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told IANS.
"Once the results come in, the party will decide what should be the next course of action towards government formation," he added.
On Monday evening, soon after the staggered Lok Sabha election finally ended, exit polls universally predicted that the BJP-led NDA would end a decade of Congress rule. The polls said the BJP and its allies would win 272 or more seats in the Lok Sabha so as to form a government.
"The exit polls largely reflect the reality on ground though we feel we will get more seats than what is being predicted," said another BJP leader Prakash Javadekar.
Javadekar said the BJP was likely to gain a 14 percent vote share over the 2009 election, leaving the Congress decimated. "People have voted very enthusiastically and decisively for us."
Political analyst G.V.L. Narasimha Rao, who is now with the BJP, however feels the party will win 253 seats on its own while the NDA in all was set to get 303 seats.
BJP general secretary Amit Shah has said he expects 250-260 seats for his party in the 545-member Lok Sabha.
Modi, who led an aggressive campaign for the BJP after being named the prime ministerial candidate last year, is now in Gujarat, whose government he still heads, Naqvi told IANS. Naqvi said he was not sure if Modi will be in Delhi during the vote count Friday.
The BJP gave a 13-day government and later a six-year government from 1998 to 2004, both led by the now ailing Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Now, riding on what is widely seen as a "Modi wave", the party appears set to return to power in the world's largest democracy.
Both Naqvi and Rao said the BJP was aware of the many problems a new government would have to grapple with.
"We know what the challenges are," Rao said. "There are a lot of expectations from the BJP, and there is also a lot of urgency in areas such as the slackening economy.
"We will have to ensure there is a growth spur. But all these cannot happen overnight, also the measures to ensure these results will have to be started at once.
"Once we initiate the process for growth, the results will be visible in a few months," Rao told IANS.
"The number one priority remains to kickstart the economy," he added. "As far as price rise is concerned, there are no magic solutions, but once the overall economy is taken care of, inflation is likely to be checked."
Naqvi said the BJP manifesto had talked in detail about the various plans and programmes meant to rescue India "from the very bad heritage the UPA government will be giving us.
"We will obviously take strong measures to find solution to price rise, and ensure a good economic growth.