If the exit polls are anything to go by, the BJP’s dream run will continue with a clean sweep of Jharkhand and a second-place finish in Jammu and Kashmir when results to the assembly polls are announced Tuesday.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led by Mufti Mohammed Sayeed is tipped to emerge as the single largest party in a hung J&K assembly while the BJP notches up its highest ever tally in its first attempt to capture the state.
The curtains came down on the elections on Saturday with 76% polling in J&K and 71.25% in Jharkhand. According to the Election Commission, the overall turnout for both states after five phases stood at 66% — a record for J&K, especially, with the percentage being its highest in two decades.
Today’s Chanakya — which came the closest to predicting the Lok Sabha poll results— gave the BJP and its ally, the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU), 61 of the 81 seats in the state with a margin of eight. It predicted a vote share of 36% with a margin of 3% in either direction.
The India Today Group-Cicero poll gave the BJP and its ally between 43 and 51 seats, with a similar vote share of 36%. ABP-Nielsen projected 54 seats for the combine, with the BJP alone bagging 47 seats, and a 37% vote share. The most conservative projection was that of the IBN-Axis APM survey, which gave the combine 37-43 seats, with BJP alone bagging 38% of the vote share.
Most polls predicted the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha would come in second. Today’s Chanakya put its seat tally at 12 with a margin of four, India Today gave it 14-18 while ABP predicted 10 seats. Only IBN gave the Babulal Marandi-led Jharkhand Vikas Morcha a slight edge, predicting it would get 12-16 seats, pushing JMM to third place with 10-14.
The surveys gave the JMM a vote share of anywhere between 7% and 21%, compared to 15.2% in 2009. The fact that vote-to-seat conversion is a tricky element of any survey, and the wide range in the projections of its share means the party’s performance could well throw up some surprises.
The star alliance of the Congress, RJD and JD(U) has clearly not worked with different surveys giving it anywhere between four and 11 seats.
In the J&K assembly of 87 seats, the regional gulf in the state is apparent if the exit polls are correct, with the PDP performing well in the Valley and the BJP scoring in Jammu. It will be a hung House, where government formation may become a political challenge.
The IBN survey gave the PDP 35-41 seats and the BJP 16-22. ABP-C Voter predicted 32-38 seats for the PDP with the BJP just a little behind with 27-33. While ABP gave the ruling National Conference 8-14 seats, IBN gave it 9-13. The Congress will get 4-10 seats according to ABP, and 9-13 according to IBN.
“There will now be a flurry of exit polls but I will wait for the only exit poll that really matters — the one on December 23,” tweeted chief minister Omar Abdullah.