Even as the exit polls for the Lok Sabha elections trickled in Wednesday evening predicting a hung parliament, one has to keep in mind that they had all gone woefully wrong in the 2004 electoral battle predicting exactly the opposite of the outcome.
As many as five leading TV channels had then predicted in the previous elections that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would bag 230 to 278 seats and gave the Congress and its allies 171 to 205 seats.
The results, which led to the formation of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, shocked the pollsters, the winners and the losers alike.
The UPA walked away with 275 seats and the NDA finished at 185. The Congress became the single largest party with 145 seats while the BJP got 138 seats.
The exit polls 2009 appear more realistic with the pollsters predicting a close fight between the two main alliances with the Third Front partners, including the Left parties, likely to play kingmakers.