The inexactitude of exit polls has now been borne out on several occasions, the last one being the Bihar assembly polls where most went horribly wrong. Yet, in our eagerness to learn of the verdict before the verdict so to speak, we lap up the exit polls with fervour.
Some leaders go to the extent of accepting congratulatory messages once these polls are out. However, with the caveat that the latest polls to the assembly elections in five states could go wrong, the results throw up a number of interesting trends.
One is that the BJP has opened its innings in Assam, its strategy being a clever blend of moderation and anti-incumbency hype. If Assam goes the BJP way, party president Amit Shah will regain his reputation as a master strategist whose formidable skills had taken a beating after Bihar. However elated the BJP may be, it was clear well before the elections that the Tarun Gogoi administration was tired and stuttering after long years in power and no new ideas to offer.
In Bengal, again, there are no surprises and it was going to be Mamata all along; the only issue being the margin of victory. The Congress-Left alliance was never going to upset the Trinamool applecart, but here we see an interesting combination reminiscent of the days when the two shared power at the Centre. A poor showing will mean that the knives will be out for the CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury who is credited with being the mastermind of this tie-up in the face of the fact that the two parties are traditional rivals and fought each other in Kerala.
In Tamil Nadu, the DMK seems to have risen from the ashes of Amma and is slated to make a comeback. The politics of competitive freebies could tilt the balance either way, though the fact is that the empress of Poes Garden’s increasingly isolated and imperious behaviour could have cost her some votes among a populace which tends to feel abandoned by the public absence of its leaders. In contrast, the nonagenarian M Karunanidhi was a beehive of activity, motoring across the state dispensing freebies.
In Kerala, the only surprise will come if the UDF bucks the trend and beats the LDF, though the polls show that things will run to pattern. But the BJP has made the fight a triangular one in many areas. If the BJP gets five or more seats that it is predicted to, it will have breached the bastion and this could well mean its rise in the coastal state in the years to come. The Congress does not seem to feature much and this should cause some real introspection within the party in the days to come. Seats or no seats, it is advantage BJP on the national front and for the Congress, the loser is really standing small. If the polls are right, that is.