The exit polls conducted by different agencies of various media organisations came to one broad conclusion: the ruling BJP’s election catchphrase 'phir ek baar Modi sarkar' may turn into a reality on 23 May, when the votes are counted.
What should be noted at the outset that of all the polling agencies, only one — the NewsX-India News poll — predicted that the Rahul Gandhi-led Congress and its allies, known as the UPA, would cross the 140-seat mark. It seems that the Congress campaign has proved to be a dud and Rahul's emphasis on Rafale and Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) scheme found no takers on the ground, which points, yet again, to his failings as a leader.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Rahul's sister, who was labelled the Congress' Brahmastra — the mythical weapon of Lord Brahma — failed miserably to boost the party. If the exit poll numbers hold up, the Congress may even struggle to be recognised as the main Opposition and consequently may not receive the post of Leader of Opposition. It appears that the protagonists of the third front — the likes of Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, Chandrababu Naidu, K Chandrasekhar Rao — were daydreaming.
If today's exit polls hold up, it shows that the Narendra Modi wave — which began in 2014 — has retained its strength or gotten even stronger in 2019. Modi thus deserves greater credit, considering he has been at the helm as prime minister for five years and is being judged on his performance.
After travelling extensively and talking to large number of people of varied social strata in Uttar Pradesh and other states, it is important to note what has changed for Modi and the BJP in five years. In 2014, as a challenger, Modi generated hope. Modi got votes because the public voted both for his development model and against a discredited Manmohan Singh regime.
This time around, talking to people across the state, particularly working men and women, one got the sense that their hope in Modi has transformed into trust for a prime minister who worked tirelessly to deliver basic needs to the common man: be it toilets, concrete houses, cooking gas, roads or bank accounts. Their votes for him, irrespective of what the final number may be, is a positive vote and not guided by what some describe as the there is no alternative (TINA) factor.
The Opposition, which started believing their hyperbole and overambitious goals, rather than devising any real strategy and giving an alternative view to take the country forward in the 21st Century is finding it difficult to digest the exit polls. Mamata tweeted:
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
Incidentally, for the past few days Mamata, since the time she took on Election Commission — which invoked Article 324 of the Constitution in West Bengal and called a halt to campaigning one day earlier than scheduled — and took the fight to the streets against Modi and BJP, was labelled 'prime minister-in-waiting' by the anti-Modi forces. Mamata is now raising the laughable bogey of “thousands of EVMs being replaced” and positioning herself at pole position to take on Modi. However, Mamata seems to have forgotten that in politics, coalition building is only for the winners, while the losers are consigned to internecine squabbling and passing the buck. Rahul fared no better, going into sour grapes mode as soon as polling ended. Rahul blasted Modi for going to Kedarnath and Badrinath and slammed the EC for not taking action against him.
From Electoral Bonds & EVMs to manipulating the election schedule, NaMo TV, “Modi’s Army” & now the drama in Kedarnath; the Election Commission’s capitulation before Mr Modi & his gang is obvious to all Indians. The EC used to be feared & respected. Not anymore. — Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 19, 2019
He obviously couldn’t stomach that Modi had, yet again, outsmarted his opponents (even if one were to admit that he had a political strategy in mind to visit Kedarnath and Badrinath on seventh and last phase of polling in 59 seats). If Sunday’s exit poll predictions turn into a reality on Thursday, Rahul may recall Modi’s concluding speech in Parliament during a no-confidence motion moved by Congress and TDP, wishing Opposition (Rahul in particular) luck in 2024.
Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on https://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019.html. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.
Updated Date: May 20, 2019 11:07:36 IST