The BJP-led NDA could cross 220 seats and be within striking distance of forming the government at the Centre if Lok Sabha elections were to be held immediately, according to a CNN-IBN Lokniti election tracker conducted by CSDS.
What’s more, the survey said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi had widened his lead over Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi as the preferred choice for PM.
The poll gave the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) 211-231 seats, well ahead of the ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) but still short of the majority mark of 272 in the 543-member Lok Sabha.
According to the tracker, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will get 192-210 seats, improving on its best showing of 183 seats in 1999. The saffron party had bagged 116 seats in the 2009 general elections.
The tracker saw the Congress heading for its worst performance and the UPA possibly failing to cross 125 seats.
The survey conducted in 18 states and with 18,591 voters this month projected the Congress coming down to 92-108 seats from the 206 in 2009. It gave the UPA 107-127 seats.
In such a scenario, regional parties such as Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK could be the key to government formation, the survey said.
On leadership choices, Modi maintained his frontrunner status, with 34% respondents saying they prefer Modi as PM. In the 2013 Election Tracker, Modi had 19% approval.
Rahul Gandhi is the choice of 15% respondents. Congress president Sonia Gandhi is third on preferred PM ratings at 5%. Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi chief minister opened his account on this list with 3% approval.
Modi’s biggest lead is amongst voters between 18 and 25 years old. In this age group, 48% prefer him to Rahul Gandhi, who gets the backing of 25%.
In a direct face-off between Modi and Rahul Gandhi for PM, 42% preferred the BJP strongman and 25% backed the Congress leader.
The survey also found that if Modi were not acceptable as NDA coalition leader after the results of the Lok Sabha elections, 22% would prefer Advani as the PM choice.
BJP on top in projections two days in succession
An opinion poll by the Headlines Today on Thursday had similarly projected NDA would emerge as the biggest formation in the Lok Sabha elections, but fall short of the majority mark of 272.
The poll gave the ruling UPA 98-108 seats and predicted other parties would get 223-233 seats, indicating they would have a major role to play in government formation.
The poll by C-Voter gave 188 seats in the Lok Sabha to the BJP and 91 to the Congress.
Two other television channels termed the BJP the biggest gainer in Uttar Pradesh, but saw the AAP making inroads in Delhi on its Lok Sabha debut.
While an opinion poll by CNN IBN-CSDS said the BJP would get 41-49 of UP’s 80 seats (the highest among states), an ABP News-Nielsen poll gave the saffron party 35 seats.
The BJP had won 10 seats in UP in 2009 and the projected gains would be significant as it seeks to dethrone the Congress at the Centre.
The polls see UP powerhouses, the ruling Samajwadi Party and opposition Bahujan Samaj Party, being reduced to 10 to 15 seats.
Mulayam Singh Yadav’s SP has 22 Lok Sabha seats and Mayawati’s BSP 21. Both parties extend outside support to the UPA government.
The Congress which had performed well in UP in 2009 with 21 seats, will fare badly, according to the polls. The CNN IBN-CSDS gave it 4-10 seats and ABP News-Nielsen 12.
After a stellar performance in the Delhi assembly elections last year, the AAP is set to win 4-6 of the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, according to the CNN IBN-CSDS survey.
In Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the BJP will gain as well. According to the Headlines Today poll, BJP will get 21 (4 in 2009) of the 25 seats in Rajasthan; and 22 (16 in 2009) of the 29 seats in MP.
In the assembly polls last year, the BJP ousted the Congress in Rajasthan with a landslide win and comfortably retained MP, with chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan scoring a hat-trick of wins.
The Headlines Today poll sees the saffron party being the biggest gainer in Bihar, where it lost ally Janata Dal (United) following Modi’s elevation.
The poll said the BJP would get 22 seats as compared to 12 in 2009. The party will gain at the cost of chief minister Nitish Kumar’s JD-U, which is projected to get 4 seats (20 in 2009).
The Lok Sabha elections are due by May.