New Delhi: Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi is set to become India’s next Prime Minister, exit polls showed on Monday, with his opposition party and its allies forecast to sweep to a parliamentary majority in the world’s biggest ever election.
Exit polls predicted the end of the Congress-led UPA’s 10-year rule in India and return of the BJP-led NDA, attesting Modi’s game plan focusing the polls on himself has paid off.
NewsX has projected a national scenario which sees the NDA winning 289 Lok Sabha seats, comfortably past the mark of 272 required for a majority. The NDA had managed 159 seats in 2009.
On its own, the NewsX-CVoter survey sees the BJP getting as many as 251 seats. This would be the saffron party’s best ever showing in the Lok Sabha polls. The party had won 182 seats in 1998 and 1999.
The survey sees the UPA getting a drubbing, managing just 101 seats, down from the 262 it had achieved five years ago.
The Congress’ worst performance of 114 seats was in 1999.
The BJP-led NDA coalition could get a majority with 272 seats in the Lok Sabha, the India Today-CICERO exit poll said. It said at the end of the staggered Lok Sabha election that the Congress-led UPA would get 115 seats and other parties 156 would win seats.
Most television channels quickly went on to a micro picture. The CNN-IBN gave the BJP 5-7 seats in Delhi, while the AAP was predicted to win 0-2 seats.
The Congress, which won all seven Delhi seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, was headed for a wipeout, the CNN-IBN-CSDS survey showed.
“Delhi could swing totally in favour of the BJP, projected to get 5-7 seats,” CNN-IBN tweeted.
“Impressive debut by @AamAadmiParty in Punjab… post-poll for Punjab: BJP 6-9, Cong 3-5, AAP 1-3,” the channel added.
Opinion polls had earlier showed the BJP and its allies taking the largest share of seats in the election staggered over five weeks. The Congress, in power for the past decade, faces its worst defeat as it battles the anger of the public over a string of scams and a slow economy.
The BJP has insisted a strong ‘(Narendra) Modi wave’ will sweep the nation. The BJP’s prime ministerial nominee travelled over 300,000 km and held 5,827 public meetings, mixing traditional methods of holding rallies with innovative use of technology, the party claimed.
The exit poll results of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2009 were close to the projection lines. However, predictions of the 2004 general elections were off with the exit-poll favourite NDA securing only 187 seats against the estimates of over 240 to 250 seats. The Congress and its pre-poll allies got 216 seats against projection ranging from 170 to 205 seats.
The stock markets have in recent days hit record highs on hopes that the exit polls would show the BJP and its allies winning a majority.
The Nifty breached the psychologically key level of 7,000 points for the first time on Monday, breaking a record high of 6,871.35 that it hit on Friday.
The Sensex also hit an all-time high and the rupee rallied to its strongest levels in 10 months on Monday.
Should Modi fall short of a majority when the results come in on May 16, he will need to strike a coalition deal with some of India’s increasingly powerful regional parties.
Modi is a polarising figure whose critics accuse him of turning a blind eye to religious riots in 2002 in the state of Gujarat, where he is Chief Minister. More than 1,000 people-most of them Muslims-were killed in the violence.
Modi denies the accusations and a Supreme Court inquiry found no evidence to prosecute him.—Agencies