Bengal voters.

Bengal voters.

BJP upbeat post exit polls; Trinamool circumspect, still hoping

BJP confident of smashing trend in Rajasthan; mixed predictions for Andhra

Agency Report | Kolkata/Jaipur/Amravati | 20 May, 2019 | 11:50 PM

Fresh from their exit poll high, the BJP remained jubilant a day after the elections ended in West Bengal, while the Trinamool Congress continued to turn a blind eye towards the predictions, although there was a mood of despondency.

Commenting on Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee’s remarks that the predictions are “gossip”, BJP leaders in the state said the ruling party leaders were giving excuses for their possible defeats.

“They know that they are going to lose. Trinamool’s supremo Mamata Banerjee’s statements alleging tampering of the EVMs are proof of their defeat.

“Many leaders in the Trinamool and also from other parties have made inquiry and I had discussions with them post the exit polls predictions,” state BJP President Dilip Ghosh said.

Almost all exit polls either gave a majority to the NDA or predicted it would stop close to the magic figure of 272 Lok Sabha seats.

The various exit polls also forecast a massive increase in the BJP’s number of seats – from two in 2014 to between 16 and 18 in West Bengal.

Incidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had previously claimed 40 Trinamool Congress MLAs were in touch with him and would desert the party once the 2019 Lok Sabha poll results were announced on May 23.

“Let see how many of them change the side after the poll verdict. There is information about 100 MLAs keeping in touch with our leadership. Will the Trinamool government last till 2021? That is what we are discussing since morning. This government knows only creating violence, nothing else,” a BJP leader said on condition of anonymity, from the state head office.

Speaking on the anticipated violence after the May 23 verdict, Ghosh said that political change was “inevitable” but the ruling party in the state was “not ready to accept it”.

The saffron party leaders also targeted the meeting between Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Banerjee held in the eastern metropolis on Monday.

“Can you remember the picture of the opposition leaders after the so-called United India rally here? How many of them are there in the alliance? Naidu also is talking about manipulation of the EVMs. They have started giving excuses for their defeats. He would again come just to have a cup of tea and would leave,” Ghosh said.

However, Trinamool leaders oozed confidence about their victory but a sense anxiety gripped the camp.

Trinamool Secretary General and state minister Partha Chatterjee on Monday sounded unfazed by the exit poll reports.

“We have our internal party reports. We also have reports from districts and each and every constituency. It clearly says we will win this time too,” he said.

Many booth level party leaders and Kolkata Corporation Councillors openly dismissed the exit poll verdicts but at the same time they were seen asking each other – “what will happen?”.

Party supremo Banerjee had said on Sunday that it was a “game plan to manipulate and replace thousands of the EVMs” and urged the opposition leaders to stand strong and united.

“It is a game plan, planted by the Narendra Modi government. I think it is a total gossip. No one is messenger of God. I do not believe their theory.”
With the exit polls largely giving a major seat share to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Rajasthan, the saffron outfit is confident of shattering the decade-old trend of the ruling party having an edge over the opposition in the Lok Sabha elections in the state.

According to BJP MLA Satish Punia, the trend is going to change this time as the saffron opposition will sweep Rajasthan in the Lok Sabha polls, winning 22-25 seats out of the 25 parliamentary constituencies in the state.

The BJP has more reasons to cheer, as per Punia, because the anti-incumbency factor is already starting to show against the state government which has been in power for just 150 days.

The BJP lawmaker said that people were anguished by the rising crime rate in the state and also because of the culmination of ambitious schemes such as the Bhamashah, Annapurna and Rajlaxmi which were started by the BJP.

Since last many years, the ruling party in Rajasthan has garnered a major share of Lok Sabha seats. In 2014, the ruling BJP had swept all the 25 seats in the state. In 2009, the Congress had walked away with 20 seats a year after forming the government in the state, while the BJP managed only 4 seats. In 2004, the ruling BJP had won 21 seats while 4 seats went the Congress’ way.

An exception was seen in 1999, when the BJP won 19 seats despite being in the opposition, while the ruling Congress managed 9 seats.

Terming the exit polls as “exact polls”, Punia said a jubilant BJP has already started working for the panchayat elections and the civic body polls scheduled to be held in November this year.

Punia also asserted that Rajasthan would see major representation in the Central government and that many new as well as old faces would go to the Parliament.
While a majority of the exit polls predicted victory for BJP-led NDA at the Centre, they were divided on the likely outcome in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections which were held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls.

The exit polls made mixed projections as to which party will form the next government in the state. While some predicted that the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) will storm to power, others said the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) will retain power.

They painted a hazy picture of Andhra Pradesh Assembly, elections for which were held along with Lok Sabha seats on April 11.

Some exit polls gave the YSRCP 111-135 seats in 175-member Assembly, other predicted that the TDP will win 90-111 seats. They predicted 1-5 seats for actor Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena, which made it electoral debut.

According to India Today-Axis, the YSRCP is expected to win 130-135 seats while the TDP may finish with 37-40 seats. It projected 0-1 seat for the Jana Sena. CPS predicted 130-133 seats for the YSRCP, 37 for the TDP and one for the Jana Sena.

According to VDP Associates, the YSRCP may win 111-121 seats while the TDP may get 54-60. The Jana Sena may finish with 0-4.

However, an exit poll by INSS predicted that the TDP will retain power by winning 118 seats while the YSRCP may get 52. It gave 5 seats to Pawan Kalyan’s party. Elite gave 101-111 seats to the TDP and 63-73 to the YSRCP. Former MP L. Rajagopal’s RG Flash Team projected 90-100 seats for the TDP and 65-79 for the YSRCP.

All the exit polls predicted that both Congress and BJP will draw a blank.

In 2014 elections, the TDP had bagged 102 seats while its then ally BJP had won four seats. The YSRCP had won 67 seats while two independents were also elected. In the Lok Sabha elections held simultaneously, the TDP had won 15 and the BJP two seats. The YSRCP bagged the remaining eight seats.

This time, exit polls have also made mixed projections for Lok Sabha polls. They gave the YSRCP 12-15 Lok Sabha seats and the TDP 10-13.

The IANS-CVOTER exit poll predicted 14 seats for the TDP while giving 11 to the YSRCP.

Chief Minister and TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu on Monday said he was “cent per cent” sure of the TDP retaining power.

The TDP supremo believes that the welfare and development programmes undertaken by his government during last five years would help it get a fresh mandate.

Naidu predicted that the TDP will win 110 seats in 175-member Assembly. “Our seats may even go up to 120-130,” he told his party leaders.

He was also confident that of 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state, the TDP will bag 18-20.

YSRCP leader Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy said the exit polls broadly indicated the situation in the state. “They have confirmed what we have been saying for last several months,” he said.

Ramakrishna Reddy, who is political secretary to YSRCP chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, was confident that the party would get more seats than projected in the exit polls.