Exit polls project a big win for BJP-Shiv Sena combine in Maharashtra
Five exit polls have projected a second term in office for Maharashtra’s Devendra Fadnavis, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader who was seen as unconventional choice as a chief minister in the state five years ago but is predicted to lead his party to victory in the state elections held today.
The exit poll projections for the BJP-led combine varies widely between 166 and 243 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly. The majority mark for the state assembly is 145.
The India Today-Axis My India exit poll has projected between 166 and 194 seats for the BJP-led coalition with Shiv Sena and 71-90 seats for the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party.
The exit poll telecast by Times Now television channel gave the BJP-Sena combine 230.
According to the ABP news exit poll, BJP-Shiv Sena alliance was expected to win 204 seats in Maharashtra with NCP-Congress likely to win 69 seats.
News18 Ipsos exit poll, which projected 241 seats to the BJP-Sena alliance, indicated that the BJP could end up close to the half-way mark on its own with 141 seats was even a high possibility that the BJP could win majority on its own in Maharashtra.
The Shiv Sena, which ended up with 63 seats in 2014 state elections when it contested alone, is projected to cross the 100-seat mark to 102.
Monday evening’s exit polls projections were released shortly after voting for Haryana and Maharashtra ended at 6 pm.
An election exit poll, not always known to be correct, is a poll of voters taken immediately after they exit the polling stations
The two state elections are the first set of assembly polls after Prime Minister Narendra Modi - also the BJP’s biggest mascot in the state elections - delivered a stunning victory in the Lok Sabha elections just a few months earlier.
In his pitch for the state elections, PM Modi did speak of the development initiatives by the state and central government. But his key campaign point was the scrapping of Article 370 that ended Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and according to his party, completely integrated the state into the Indian union. It was an effort to blunt the opposition’s effort to build on anti-incumbency factor in the two states and target the ruling party over the economy.
The exit poll projections indicate that the narrative around national security and Kashmir as well as PM Modi’s larger-than-life presence may have just made an impact again, overshadowing local factors and state opposition leaders particularly in constituencies where the opposition wasn’t able to field a strong candidate.