iconimg Monday, August 31, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 17, 2012
Exit polls telecast on various news channels on Monday night predicted that Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is set to lead the BJP into a landslide victory in the assembly elections, but the Congress appears to have an edge in Himachal Pradesh.

All the exit polls telecast on English and Hindi news channels were unanimous in their forecasts of Modi scoring a hat-trick and some even predicted a reduced tally for the Congress.

The election results for both the states will be declared on Thursday.

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In the 182-member assembly, the BJP had won 117 and the Congress 59 in the 2007 assembly elections. According to the TV polls, Modi is set to retain his tally, though some of them did even show a higher projection for him.

The BJP, however, did not appear to be replicating its Gujarat performance in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh, where the polls showed that the Congress is set to snatch power from the saffron party.

Though the exit polls predicted a close race in Himachal, majority of them gave Congress the edge and the party’s gamble to hand over reins to its veteran leader and five-time chief minister, Virbhadra Singh, appeared to have paid-off. Polls show he has emerged as the most popular choice of the people for the chief minister’s post. 

Of the two states, political analysts and even parties are highly interested in Gujarat, the outcome of which is being seen as a launching pad for the big battle of 2014 general elections.

In case, exit poll predictions turn out to be true, Modi is expected to take the BJP centrestage soon. For the Congress, Modi’s reduced tally is its best bet to portray him as a state leader.

With the BJP likely to showcase Modi’s victory in a big way, the Congress party’s hopes rest on Himachal in a big way. In 2007, the BJP had won 41 and the Congress 23 in the 68 member assembly.