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Exit polls predict Diggy's exit

Between 50 and 60 per cent of voters exercised their franchise in the four states that went to the polls on Monday. But as soon as voting stopped, psephology took over.

india Updated: Dec 02, 2003 09:35 IST

Between 50 and 60 per cent of voters exercised their franchise in the four states that went to the polls on Monday. But almost as soon as voting stopped, psephology took over.

The results of a number of exit polls were announced through the evening. Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, it was generally agreed, were too close to call. The BJP had a definite edge in Madhya Pradesh. The one state where every pollster stuck his neck out was Delhi, where a Congress victory seemed assured.

A DRS exit poll for Sahara Samay channel predicted 89 of the 200 seats in Rajasthan for the BJP and 84 for the Congress. In MP, the poll forecast 168 of the 230 seats for the BJP, 44 for the Congress. For the 70-member Delhi assembly, the exit poll on the channel gave 38 seats to the Congress and 25 to the BJP.

The results thrown up by the exit polls are broadly in line with those of earlier election surveys. But answers to questions like will it be 3-1 one way or all square at 2-2 will have to wait till December 4.

Pollsters can’t blame unusually high or low voter turnout if they go wrong. Deputy Election Commissioner A.N. Jha said that Delhi recorded the lowest voter turnout of 48-50 per cent. Chhattisgarh, MP and Rajasthan all polled 60 per cent.

The polling percentage in the by-elections in Jamalpur (in Gujarat) and Thiruvalla (in Kerala) were 47 and 52.

According to the EC, the polls were "by and large" peaceful with "stray incidents" of violence involving reports of booth capturing, and snatching and damage to some electronic voting machines (EVMs) in all the four states, including Delhi.

Jha said the EC would take a decision on Tuesday on ordering repoll in some polling stations. The repolling would be completed by Wednesday, he said.

In Chhattisgarh, 23 instances of booth capturing, damage to EVMs and other forms of disturbance were reported. According to Jha, most disruptions were caused by Left-wing extremists active in Dantewara and Kanker districts.

MP had 23 cases of disruption of polling. One EVM was "broken" in Bhopal.

Polling in Rajasthan was peaceful with only nine cases of booth capturing and damage to EVMs by unruly mobs.

Jha denied reports of large-scale malfunctioning of EVMs. "There were initial hiccups caused by procedural snags and human error. But polling was not adversely affected," he said. "Only 25-30 machines out of a total of over 1.2 lakh had to be replaced."

First Published: Dec 02, 2003 00:00 IST