With voting for assembly elections in five states now over, winners and losers will be declared on March 11. But, the Election Commission has allowed publication and broadcast of exit polls from Thursday evening.
Past experience shows, exit polls at best can keep the excitement and suspense on and do not often match the final results.
Here are a few glimpses from the 2012 exit polls for the assembly elections for Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa:
Punjab: No poll predicted a return of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party combine in Punjab. CNN-IBN gave 60 seats to the Congress in the 117 member house and India TV- CVoter said it would win 65. The party lost the election for the second time in a row with just 46 seats while the SAD-BJP romped home with 68 seats.
Uttar Pradesh: Exit polls on UP showed the Samajwadi Party in the lead but the tally they predicted ranged between 137-145 (India TV-CVoter) and 232-250 (CNN-IBN – The Week). The SP finished with a clear majority at 224 seats in the 403 member assembly. Projections for other parties were mostly off the mark too. No poll got all estimates for the top four political parties right. The BSP, which got 80 seats was shown as winning between 65 and 130 seats by different pollsters.
Uttarakhand: Exit polls showed a close fight between the Congress and the BJP. It was. The Congress got just one seat more, 32 compared to the BJP’s 31 but some polls had predicted the return of the BJP.
Goa: Pollsters showed BJP ahead, giving it around 20 seats in the 40 member assembly. It bagged 24. The Congress, which was predicted to finish with 15-19 seats, was routed and ended with 9 seats.
Manipur: The Congress return to power was predicted here but with a reduced tally. New24-Today’s Chanakya gave the Congress 25 seats while the CNN-IBN-The Week poll predicted 24-32 seats in the house of 60. The Congress came back with 42 seats.