Amid the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Trinamool Congress (TMC) stand-off intensifying in West Bengal, exit polls are predicting that while the TMC will continue to remain in the driver's seat, the BJP could potentially make massive inroads.
While Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee dismissed exit polls released soon after the last phase of Lok Sabha election concluded on Sunday as ‘gossip’, she would be heartened to learn that at least four major pollsters backed the TMC to retain power.
News18-IPSOS exit poll backed TMC to improve its overall tally from the present 34 seats to between 36 and 38 seats and forecast only between 3 and 5 seats for BJP.
Times Now-VMR predicted that the TMC would win 28 seats, while BJP would win only 11 seats. ABP-AC Nielsen projected 23 seats for TMC and 16 seats for BJP, Today's Chanakya has forecast 24 seats for the TMC and 18 seats for the BJP.
The India Today-Axis exit poll, which projected that BJP will bag 19 to 23 seats among the 42 parliamentary constituencies and the TMC will net between 19 and 22 seats, might give her cause for concern.
And the Republic-Jan Ki Baat exit poll, which predicted that the BJP would make massive inroads with 18 to 26 seats, and forecast only between 13 to 21 seats for the TMC, would worry her even more.
As per the polls, the Congress is a non-entity, with most saying it will either fail to open its account or win only two seats.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, TMC emerged victorious in 34 constituencies.
During the seven-phase Lok Sabha polls held on 11, 18, 23 and 29 April and 6, 12 and 19 May, West Bengal saw many instances of sporadic violence. The most recent occurrence was an outburst of violence at BJP chief Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata last week, allegedly perpetrated by TMC workers. The violence led to the destruction of a bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. Soon after, the Election Commission, for the first time in history, invoked Article 324 of the Constitution, implementing a curb on campaigning much before the stipulated 48 hours of election silence.
I don’t trust Exit Poll gossip. The game plan is to manipulate or replace thousands of EVMs through this gossip. I appeal to all Opposition parties to be united, strong and bold. We will fight this battle together
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) May 19, 2019
Exit polls by News 18-Ipsos, India Today-Axis and News 24-Chanakya projected 336, 339-368 and 336-364 seats respectively for the NDA, with the BJP tipped to cross the majority on its own for another term after the 2014 polls. However, ABP News-Nielsen and Neta-News X said the ruling alliance may fall short of a majority. ABP News forecast 267 and NewsX 242 seats for the ruling NDA.
The counting of votes will be held on 23 May.
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Updated Date: May 19, 2019 23:53:04 IST