Although all exit polls give the BJP a clear edge over the others, the party is ready for any eventuality when the results are declared on Sunday. It has a plan each for several possible scenarios. The other parties, still hopeful of getting the numbers required to form a government, too have started exploring ways to deal with whatever situation arises.
While the BJP welcomed the exit polls on Wednesday, its former ally, the Shiv Sena, rubbished the projections. The Congress and NCP, too, ran down the exit polls, which gave them fewer seats than the BJP and the Sena. The MNS decided to wait till the results were declared, before making any move.Strategists of all parties, meanwhile, have started working on permutations and combinations that can bring them to power. According to sources from various parties, their top leaders will assess the situation based on feedback from units across the state and then plan what they need to do next.
BJP insiders said even though they are confident of forming a government on their own, they have an alternative plan in place to reach the magic figure of 145. The BJP would reach out to smaller parties, independents and the MNS. If the verdict is fractured, the party could even look at reviving old equations. The BJP could approach the Sena, which stood second in the exit polls, in case the deficit is too big.
State BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said his party would not need any party’s support to form the government. “People across the state have voted for change. We will win an absolute majority on our own,” he said.
Another scenario that could emerge is of the Congress and NCP, which have ruled the state for 15 years, coming back together to win power. In 1999, the two parties formed the government although they contested the polls separately.
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The Congress, on Wednesday, seemed to be in denial with its senior leaders refusing to accept the exit poll projections. While the party leaders admitted that they do not expect to win the polls, they said the party won’t come in third or fourth. They had gone to polls with an expectation of winning 50-55 seats and are still hoping to win them.
Within the Congress, senior leaders are already gunning for ex-chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. “Chavan may have a clean image, but the fact is that it doesn’t seem to have translated into votes for us. At the end of the day, he will be seen as the CM who led the party to disaster. If the exit polls are right, we will take a long time to get back on our feet,” said a senior leader.
NCP’s spokesperson Nawab Malik said the exit polls are based on voting till 3pm, and hence are not an accurate measure as most of the polling took place in the last three hours. “I firmly believe that the tally shown in the exit polls is bound to change.”
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