Exit polls predict an outright NDA win. The mandate is overwhelmingly for a Narendra Modi-led government with Modi as PM, say all exit polls, released on Monday evening, within hours of the end of the last phase of elections. The News 24 channel-Chanakya exit poll predicts 340 seats for NDA! If that does not sweep anybody off the feet what will? News 24 is owned by Rajiv Shukla, a Congress leader!
That said, Hindi TV channels' exit polls predict a higher number of seats for the NDA than English TV channels like Times Now and CNN-IBN. Times Now's poll kept the numbers to 249 for NDA and 148 to the UPA, while CNN-IBN put it at 272-280 for the NDA, 102 for the UPA. News 24-Chanakya gave UPA a ridiculously low 70! Remember Chanakya was the only pollster which got anywhere close to the actual AAP tally in the Delhi assembly elections.
The consensus is that Narendra Modi is home, that there was a 'Modi wave' in Gujarat, UP, Bihar, MP and Rajasthan. In all these states the Congress is on its knees, say the exit polls. A word of caution though. Exit polls in 2004 were way of the mark. In 2009, they could come correct on only a couple of "numbers".
But, say pollsters, it wouldn't be the case in 2014. The Congress will take that with a pinch of salt. The BJP is already distributing sweets. To tell the truth the Congress has "officially" boycotted exit polls this time. "Wait for May 16," said Mani Shankar Iyer, the man who set the "Chaiwallah" on the path to 7RCR. JD(U) leader K C Tyagi also held forth that exit polls lacked credibility. All the exit polls point to a sad JD(U) performance. Even Lalu's RJD will not make waves, say these polls.
In Maharashtra, the BJP-Shiv Sena will get over half the seats. MNS will draw a blank while AAP will take home one. Talking of AAP, the fledgling party will get a total tally of 5. Surprise, surprise...it will draw a blank in Delhi, say most polls. It also looks like Arvind Kejriwal will bite the dust in Varanasi though Punjab will give him something to smile about.
It is in UP and Bihar where the NDA/BJP will really score high. News24-Chanakya predicts 70 seats for NDA in UP, and well over half of the Bihar seats. India TV gives NDA 54 in UP and Times Now gives NDA 52. These are outstanding numbers and leaves the Congress, SP and the BSP in the margins. India Today-Cicero gives overall 272-plus for NDA.
It's only in Kerala and Assam that the exit polls speak of a Congress triumph. In Tamil Nadu, the AIIDMK will get the most number of seats and in West Bengal, Mamata's TMC will get the most number of seats, say the exit polls though Mamata can now forget her dream to "jail Modi".
All in all, the exit polls will have sounded great to the BJP, the NDA and the markets. Whether they will go awry like they did in 2004 and 2009 will be seen only on May 16. Till then BJP supporters can go to sleep soundly. The Congress and the UPA can only pray. As for those who get these polls done, they will have to keep their fingers crossed. Don't forget all such polls come with an error of plus-minus 3%.