NDA climbing, power point in sight

Updated on May 06, 2004 03:02 AM IST

Exit polls on Wednesday showed the BJP-led NDA making gains across the heartland after the third phase of the elections, predicting that it was nearing the halfway mark.

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PTI | By, New Delhi

Exit polls on Wednesday showed the BJP-led NDA making gains across the heartland after the third phase of the elections, predicting that it was nearing the halfway mark. The polls said it made gains in its strongholds, Rajasthan and MP. The ruling alliance also gained substantially in UP. And in Bihar, it seems to have held its ground.

In UP, contrary to earlier perceptions, the BJP and Congress made some gains at the expense of the SP. The BSP has fared less badly. However, out of the 62 constituencies that have been decided, 19 had margins of three per cent in 1999, which makes the picture a little fuzzy. Even pollsters concede that fact.

In MP and Rajasthan, where the contest was between the BJP and the Congress, the latter seemed to have been unable to regain the ground it had lost in last year's assembly elections. The SP, BSP and Gondwana Gana Parishad cut into the Congress’s votes, making it even weaker.

In Bihar, the RJD succeeded in adding the Dalit vote to its Muslim-Yadav vote-bank, courtesy its alliance with Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party. But the Congress failed to transfer its upper-caste vote, which meant that the alliance could do only marginally better.

In the first three phases, Star gave the NDA gains in Rajasthan and MP. In UP too, gains were projected, with the SP and BSP losing out. In Bihar, it projected a loss of seats for the ruling alliance, with the Congress and allies adding to their tally.

Aaj Tak gave the NDA more gains in Rajasthan, but predicted a virtual repeat of 1999 in UP and MP for all parties. In Bihar, it showed smaller losses for the NDA, with corresponding gains for the Congress and allies.

Sahara gave the NDA small gains in MP and Rajasthan at the expense of the Congress. In UP, it showed a gain of three at the expense of other parties. In Bihar, the ruling alliance was holding on to what it had.

In the final phase of polling on May 10, 182 constituencies go to the polls. Of these, 62 are in West Bengal and Kerala, where the NDA has a tenuous presence. In the 40 seats in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry it is dependent on the AIADMK. In Delhi, Haryana, Himachal and Uttaranchal the alliance had all but one seat in 1999.

Given these factors, the NDA will have to finish strongly on May 10 to form a government comfortably.

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