So much was the confusion the exit polls created that Chief Minister Narendra Modi called the party principal pollster on Wednesday evening to know what the final tally of seats could be.
On 17th the final phase of the Gujarat polls, GVL Narasimha Rao, managing the surveys, exit-polls for the party gave Modi the figure of 117-120 in the 182-seat state Assembly. But the exit polls of the news-channels baffled the party leaders. CVoter said BJP could win 120 seats; AajTak-ORG gave 118-128. While ABP News-Nielsen pegged it at 126, News 24-Chanakya went overboard giving 140 seats.
“I told him our number still stands,” Rao told HT.
117 was the number party leaders quoting to this correspondent on Wednesday. “We know the TV channels are giving a much better number. We would love to see that happen but our estimation is 117. Anything above would make us happier,” Asifa Khan, BJP state leader said.
Even the government, intelligence reports quoted a very modest number- 105 to 110 seat.
The unusually high 71 percent for polling – an unprecedented turnout in history of Gujarat polls puzzled the bookies too, who with fingers crossed, declined to take any more bets.
But by Thursday evening the party’s internal survey and exit poll proved to be almost spot-on – much closer to the actual tally than the other surveys. BJP won 115 assembly seats.
“We were confident of our numbers as our process was spread over three months right from selection of the candidates to the day of polls and feedback from workers at the ground level,” Rao who camped in the state said.
According to party sources, the tally could have been better by 10-15 seats if some of the sitting MLAs were denied the party ticket and a suitable candidate contested. “But there were some local political compulsions,” the source said.
“We were humble yesterday and we are happy today (with the tally),” Khan said.