9.30 pm: No alliance with Congress, BJP. Period. Says AAP
When asked if AAP will get into alliance with the BJP if the need be or provide with outside support, the answer was an outright no.
"There is no question of supporting either the Congress or the BJP. Our votes are because of the anti-establishment stand that we have. If we ally with any of them what kind of credibility will we have," said AAP member Yogendra Yadav.
Although the Aam Aadmi Party made a splendid debut in the Delhi Assembly polls, there are doubts raised over its capability to make any impact at the national level.
"AAP's national plans will be a long drawn journey. There is a long belt in the country where Congress is playing the role of a permanent opposition from Gujarat to Odisha. For us Delhi is just the beginning," he said.
Lokniti, national convener, Sandeep Shastri, said, "There is a window of opportunity for AAP given that its USP is anti-establishment. That way it will capture votes from both the Congress and the BJP in the next Lok Sabha polls."
However, there was a word of caution for the new party.
"The AAP will make some impact in the next Lok Sabha in some clusters in north India if not the whole country. But it has take care that it does not up with over optimism turning into hubris. The Modi factor will be checked keenly watched. Modi's presence has galvanised the loyal," said senior journalist and columnist Swapan Dasgupta.
9.00 pm: AAP helps BJP decimate Congress
What AAP feared secretly came to be true, at least that's what the party believes, when it saw the probable tally of seats. The CSDS-CNN-IBN poll predicts that the will be the party with highest number of seats getting 32-42 seats while the new AAP is tabbed to get from 13 to 21 Assembly seats. The Congress as the survey shows will fall to a poor third with a paltry tally of 9-17 seats.
"The last minute jitters may have kept the voters away from a new party like ours," said AAP member Yogendra Yadav.
But there were encouraging words for AAP.
"AAP also needs to be complimented for having energised campaigning in Delhi which were otherwise very lackluster. They introduced innovative methods of campaigning and revived a moribund BJP forcing them to take remedial measures," said senior journalist and columnist Swapan Dasgupta. "They actually helped BJP in getting maximum of the anti-incumbency votes as it pulled out people to vote in record numbers," he said.
The BJP, which is hopeful of forming the next Delhi government, was cautious in its approach.
"We made our own calculations and we expect to get a clear majority. But it is not a poll count yet. Nevertheless, we hope to form the government," said BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi.
The Congress still hoped that the exit poll was not correct and Sheila Dikshit would deliver again.
"The 9-17 figures for the Congress is not correct. Harsh Vardhan is a nice man but Sheila Dikshit is much experienced and a tall leader," said Congress leader RK Anand. He, however, denied that the Congress leadership left Dikshit high and dry by not campaigning adequately for her.
"Congress Union ministers were too busy with their ministerial work or weere in their own constituency. This happens when your party has a government both at the Centre and the state," Anand said.
Unveiling the strategy how the BJP used Narendra Modi, Lekhi said, "Modi's rallies happened in areas where BJP never won."
8.40 pm: Gandhis abandoned Sheila Dikshit
Although Sheila Dikshit single-handedly helped Congress to retain Delhi three times in a row, the party's top family however left her alone at a time when it was most required.
"The Gandhis helped (Rajasthan Chief Minister) Ashok Gehlot by allowing poulist schemes in a big way. But that did not happen in Sheila's case," said CNN-IBN, managing editor, Vinay Tewari.
The role of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has also been questioned.
"Rahul appeared for a Delhi rally only once with Dikshit. The second rally was a disaster," said CNN-IBN, editor-in-chief, Rajdeep Sardesai.
Senior journalist and columnist Swapan Dasgupta said that the extrent of the collapse of the Congress is far greater than anywhere else in the country.
8.30 pm: The rise of Arvind Kejriwal
"The achievement of Arvind Kejriwal has been stupendous. But the lacuna is he is only face associated with the party. He possesses solid middle class qualities that were once upon epitomised by the Jan Sangh," said senior journalist and columnist Swapan Dasgupta.
Talking about the nature of politics, the AAP convener represents, The Week, Deputy Chief of Bureau, Vijaya Pushkarna said, "Kejriwal represents the public disenchantment of the people in general. He is totally untested but he does give hope," CNN-IBN, managing editor, Vinay Tewari shared similar views.
"Kejriwal is providing an emotional catharsis to an angry India particularly Delhi," he said.
But the AAP convener has some loose ends to tie up.
"Kejriwal may also be AAP's Achilles Heel. He is the only face of the party as Dasgupta already mentioned. He is India's Imran Khan who wanted to end politics of Zardari and Sharif," said senior journalist Kumar Ketkar.
8.00 pm: Delhi dumps Dikshit, BJP sweeps national capital
It is increasingly becoming apparent why Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit recently said that she did not believe in exit polls. The exit polls did differ on the number of seat share but they all unanimously predicted the impending end of Dikshit's reign in Delhi after 15 years. The CSDS-CNN-IBN poll is no different and it has predicted a clean majority for the Bharatiya Janata Party, keeping Aam Aadmi Party at an impressive second.
According to the post-poll survey, Harsh Vardhan will take over the reins of Delhi from Dikshit after the results are officially announced by the Election Commission when the counting of votes ends on 8 December. The voters have made it clear they cannot be lured by the world class metro anymore and they need a change at the top. Rising prices of essential commodities and allegations of big ticket corruption did little to help the Dikshit government.
"The world is crumbling around her. The sheer magnitude of the anti-incumbency says it all. It is the image of the UPA government at the Centre and the Congress party in general that actually triggered the fall of Sheila Dikshit more than she herself as an individual," senior journalist and columnist Swapan Dasgupta told CNN-IBN at a discussion.
Senior journalist Kumar Ketkar also agreed with Dasgupta.
"The fatigue factor has crept in. She is suffering because of the fatigue of the Central government," Ketkar said.
9.45 pm: No more than 15 seats predicted for AAP
A C-Voter Survey result indicated that AAP is set to make an impressive debut, but won't bag more than 15 seats. A Chanakya survey, however, said that the party might clinch a decisive victory with 31 seats. Another survey by the India Today group predicted that AAP will be restricted to winning only six seats in Delhi.
The Delhi exit polls by C-voter called 20 seats for Congress, 31 for BJP and 15 seats for AAP. AC Nielsen called 16 seats for Congress, 37 for the BJP, and 15 seats for AAP. The exit poll by ORG predicted 20 seats for Congress 20, 41 seats for the BJP and just 6 seats for AAP. And the Chanakya exit poll said Congress would win 10 seats, the BJP 29, and AAP 31.
Except for the Chanakya survey, the exit poll results seem to debunk the theories spawned by a slew of pre-election opinion polls which suggested the BJP will be locked in a very close battle with the AAP. Though grabbing 15 seats is no mean feat by a one-year-old party which claims to have very limited resources, it is also true that, unless it agrees to form an alliance with another party, its victory will be at best symbolic. In fact, the possibility of a drop in the number of seats predicted for the the AAP can be attributed to a perceived absence of method in AAP's madness. Though AAP's part jingoistic, part populist outreach programme has clicked famously with the youth across the country, Delhi's unwillingness to come out and vote might also play spoilsport in its game.
Then again, the style of AAP's campaign closely emulated a protest movement and hence was easily noticed and consumed by the cynical voting population of the country. However, like panelist Dipankar Gupta noted in the the Election Tracker debate on CNN IBN, AAP seems strictly like a movement and not a party with a post poll agenda. "The thing with a good movement is that it eventually kills itself. So suppose AAP wins, it forms a government and then takes to the same beacon cars that other political classes travel in, the movement dies. How does it reinvent itself then? There is no clear plan in that direction," said Gupta. And several voters seem to have woken up to the fact right before the polls. "It's not like they are voting for corruption if they are voting for BJP or Congress as opposed to the AAP. They are voting for a devil they know, as opposed to one they don't," he sums up.
A subdued Prashant Bhushan, however, countered the claims saying that the polls have been exciting for them and many voters have informed him that they came out to vote for the first time only for AAP. Asked what's their plan post the elections if they lose or can't attain decisive victory, Bhushan rejected the idea of an alliance. "BJP and Congress can form an alliance. We don't wish to join them. Also, yes our party started off as a protest. But if you have noticed, we have come up with 70 manifestoes and we have chalked out a clear governance agenda in each. It will heartbreaking for the people who have pinned their hopes on us if we lose. But we are here to change the political system. Not help BJP or Congress," Bhushan clarified. He added, though not very buoyantly, that AAP will continue to fight polls even in the occasion of a defeat.
If a majority of the exit polls are to be believed it is becoming fairly clear that AAP will probably end up being a spoiler in BJP's Delhi party. In which case, to survive, they will have to sustain the wave of cynicism against established political practices in the country - something that they will again struggle to do in the occasion of Narendra Modi's ousting the Congress from the Centre. Any which way, this will still be a party which will be garner interest in them for some time to come now.
8:25 pm: Ashok Gehlot facing the heat of UPA's reputation
With BJP all set to bounce back in Rajasthan, the IBN survey showed that the party's fortunes are being revived by Vasundhara Raje Scindia in Rajasthan. Clubbed with Scindia's renewed appeal among voters, is the ripple effect of the disgruntlement against the Congress at the Centre felt by the party in Rajasthan.
The poll gives BJP 126-136 seats and Congress a measly 49-57 seats. Journalist and political analyst Manini Chatterjee, therefore, rightly points out on CNN IBN's Election Tracker that a local leader needs to be phenomenally good to counter that anti-incumbency wave against the UPA and Ashok Gehlot is not that great. In fact, the unspectacular nature of Gehlot's personality and his governance have added to the Congress' woes and fuelled the BJP's sprint back to power in Rajasthan.
However, CNN IBN editor Rajdeep Sardesai argued that Gehlot himself has been a floundering chief minister. Only last year, despite the strong anti-Congress sentiment in the country, Congress stormed back in power in Karnataka ousting BJP - a party which seems to have regained its national political sway otherwise. A lot of the credit for that victory went to BJP's mishandling of the state, Yeddyurappa's exit and the Siddaramaiah-led Congress' concerted attempts, to connect to the voters. A talent that Gehlot sorely misses.
Swapan Dasgupta pointed out that Raje, who was down and out after last term's defeat, has bounced back for one single reason. Despite her longstanding issues with the Sangh Parivar and dissent within the party, BJP was hard pressed to find another candidate who could be their face in the state. Except Raje, the BJP had no other option and with the party's blessings, she gunned ahead mending her ties with the voters.
Congress, mired in riots, bad governance and ministers accused of everything from corruption and rape, possibly couldn't stem the Raje-wave in the state.
7.15 pm: Shivraj Singh Chouhan will be key in BJP's Madhya Pradesh victory
Predicting 143 seats for the BJP and just 71 for the Congress , the Lokniti-IBN-Week survey indicated a clean sweep for the BJP in the state. Even if the numbers swing a bit when the results are out, it is clear that the BJP is all set to keep Madhya Pradesh out of bounds for the Congress. However, what has worked for the party in the state, according to experts is CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan's personality.
While Chouhan is obviously not a performing artiste par excellence, unlike Narendra Modi, when it comes to rhetoric, flourish and charisma, he makes up for it with his accessibility and humility. Chouhan has cleverly positioned himself as the leader who doesn't demand hero-worship, but who is available and is all ears for his people irrespective of caste, class, religion. That, clubbed with the memory of Digvijaya Singh's disastrous ten-year run at the government in the past, is all set to work wonders for Singh and the BJP in Madhya Pradesh. Deepak Tiwari, journalist with The Week notes: "He has assumed the personality of an ordinary corporator and has thrown his house open to the bunkers, lohars, ordinary people."
Chouhan maintains a low profile and is not perceived as a flambouyant aggressive leader. However, it is that which will pull BJP through for the third time in Madhya Pradesh because nothing captures the Indian voter's imagination than an 'one-of-us' approach. That is where the likes of Mamata Banerjee scored in West Bengal and that is how Chouhan will keep Congress at an arm's length in MP.
Congress too seems to have shot itself in the foot by not clearly projecting Jyotiraditya Scindia as their chief ministerial candidate. Scindia who possesses the power to revive Congress personality by being a sharp foil to Digvijaya, led the campaign in MP, but was never declared the party's front-runner in the state.
Sandeep Shastri from CSDS said in CNN IBN's Election Tracker that, " The projection of CM is one way to battle anti-incumbency against MLAs. It is a status quo state. Jyotiraditya Sinha has definitely made an impact. The satisfaction levels among Congress' voters about him shows that, if the party had projected him earlier, the situation might have bee different."
However, with Digvijaya making regular appearances as a prominent leader of the Congress in the state, the party kept the voters' antipathy stoked and literally gave up the one chance it had in reviving its fortunes.
Another thing that surfaces again from the survey is that, though the polls are battles of personalities in states like Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the local leaders have instilled a voter confidence in the BJP that might help the party in the general elections. The BJP might want to rethink their national strategy and give their local leaders more play and more visibility in designing and leading their general election campaign in the states? Because, like it was noted in the CNN IBN discussion, though Shivraj Chouhan might lead the victory in MP, he is still not a included in the Parliamentary Board of the BJP and is not accorded the position of a top rung leader in the party.
Swapan Dasgupta defended BJP's act of bombarding states with multiple Modi rallies. "He is outgoing, flambouyant and excites the imagination." However, in both Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, it is the voters' connect with the local spearheads of the party which seems to have fired their impending victories in the state polls.
6.15 pm: Times Now C-voter predicts a close battle in Chhattisgarh
The C-voter survey predicted another close contest in Chhattisgarh - another BJP stronghold. While a Chanakya exit poll gives BJP 51 seats and Congress 39, the C-Voter survey gives the Congress 40 seats in the Chhattisgarh Assembly, a mere 4 seats less than the ruling party BJP. It was noted by the panelists on the show that the BJP might be facing a double incumbency wave in the state with Congress garnering quite a handful of votes on sympathy grounds. The Maoist attack that killed several Congress workers and a former Congress Union Minister game the Congress an opportunity to assume a victimhood stance and swing political empathy back towards them.
A Congress spokesperson in the show seemed to assert the same when she said that the Maoists had declared that they work in tandem with the BJP and attacked the Congress cavalcade on the party's behest. While it is next to impossible to glean the grain from the chaffe, it is clear that the attack has given anout-of-luck Congress in Chhattisgarh a chance to not only rake up an issue which might assume national proportions but also a soft-touch to gain voter confidence and sympathy.
With the Maoist insurgency looming large upon India as one of the country's greatest internal security threat and an increased frequency of Naxal attacks in other states like Bihar and Odisha, the Congress will most likely magnify and criticise the Chhattisgarh government's failure to rein in the insurgency. Also, the fact that the Maoist insurgency continues to stalk Chhattisgarh prominently can be read as an indication that the government's hyped developmental measures haven't percolated into the pockets where they are most needed. Which in turn implies that the government's measures haven't been enough to ensure a holistic, inclusive developmental for the state. These issues are likely to blow up into a poll challenge that Chhattisgarh will have to overcome in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The LOKNITI (CSDS)-IBN-THE WEEK exit polls being aired on CNN IBN differs in the number of seats but also predicts a close battle between the ruling party and Congress in the state. While the survey predicts anything between 45-55 seats for BJP, Congress might end up bagging 32-40 seats. This survey too reveals that the parties' fortunes might be hinged on the Naxal belt which comprises Bastar and Sarguja. The percentage of votes possibly bagged by the BJP in that area is being pegged at 44 percent and Congress might get 41 percent of the votes, a sharp rise from 2008.
"The Naxals tend to over-hype their concern for the poor in Bastar. And the voting population doesn't have a great opinion about the Naxals," columnist Swapan Dasgupta said in the CNN IBN show indicating that the Maoist insurgency might not affect the BJP's fortunes in the state.
The fact that the battle in Chhattisgarh might turn out to be a really close one, throws up another question: the effect of Narendra Modi in the states outside his own. Based on the survey results Sardesai questioned the nature and reach of the alleged 'Modi wave' if BJP seems to be mildly faltering in its own stronghold. Dasgupta answered that the assembly polls should be looked at in isolation and the results of the state polls shouldn't essentially be considered a comment on the national political scenario.
"Modi essentially galvanises the masses. He has left his footprints in these states," he said. The question that naturally follows that assertion is that if BJP hopes to indeed galvanise the country against the UPA using Modi as an adhesive, the state polls should ideally be a clear indicator of his influence. Given that the Lok Sabha elections aren't far away and a greater section the voting population doesn't engage in political brainstorming on a daily basis, the BJP and Modi might just consider pulling their socks up right away. If Modi's extensive campaigning has till now just done the work of familiarizing a largely dismissive electorate to the idea of Narendra Modi, the BJP has a problem at hand. Because mere familiarity doesn't essentially translate into votes and the act of confidence building is a long drawn, intensive process that cannot ride on charisma alone. If this ends up being the biggest stumbling block, the party will only have to blame itself for having delayed Modi's coronation as the PM candidate.
Journalist Manini Chatterjee summed up a dichotomy in the BJP's approach to the polls: "According to what Swapan says, if BJP wins in these five states, it will be because of Modi. However, if the party loses, Modi has nothing to do with it."
5.30 pm: Times Now C-voter exit polls gives 16 seats to AAP
While most pre-poll surveys predicted more than 20 seats more the Aam Aadmi Party, the exit poll reveals that the AAP might bag at least 16 seats in the Delhi polls. The same survey gives 29 seats to the BJP and 21 to the Congress. The exit polls, like it was feared by the bigger parties and predicted by psephologists, predict a hung assembly in Delhi.
Times Now editor Arnab Goswami noted that there is a strong anti-incumbency wave in Delhi, like we all know, but BJP seems to have not benefited spectacularly from the same. While AAP's debut promises to be awe-inspiring, their failure to rustle up a clear majority will put them in a spot alongside BJP and Congress. Given that the AAP has ridden an anti-Congress, anti-BJP wave and has positioned itself in a position which is strongly critical of the established political traditions in India, it will not be able to forge alliances with any of the major parties. Therefore, their chance at governance might be left unrealised for the time being. On the other hand, in the absence of enough parties, BJP and Congress will be hard pressed to find allies to form a strong coalition government, given that BSP and SP seem headed for a no-show in Delhi.
Summarising what the AAP will eventually mean for the Congress, Rajdeep Sardesai said on CNN IBN, "The Congress made a huge mistake in underestimating AAP. They realised only very late, that AAP was actually cannibalising their own votes."
5.15 pm: The local polls with a national favour
In the popular political narratives right now, the assembly elections in the five states is being perceived as a warm-up match for the Lok Sabha Election 2014.
In fact, the biggest parties in the ring have made it abundantly clear in their campaign pitches that their fortunes in these five states have the potential to seal their fate in the general elections next year. Accordingly, the poll promotions in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Delhi saw a strong thrust not on micro issues specific to each state, but larger national issues.
The pre-poll campaign styles of the prominent parties made it clear that the momentum built up for the general elections was what would propel the state assembly polls this year. Accordingly, BJP chief ministers took quiet steps back as the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi thundered over all the poll-bound states hammering Congress for everything from Coalgate and Railgate to communal disharmony.
The face of Congress, Rahul Gandhi, also made attempts to counter the Modi wave by campaigning intensively across all the states. Rally numbers were flaunted, goof-ups criticized, promises questioned and with campaigns in these five states, all parties sounded their bugle for the 2014 elections.
Consequently, over the past month, all the states went into polls ending with Delhi today. Except for the Capital which has till now registered not more than 50 percent voter turn-out, the other polls registered record voting.
Rajasthan recorded 75.27 percent turn-out this term, up from 67.5 percent last time, Madhya Pradesh too recorded over 72.52 percent voter turn-out, up from 69 percent. Chhattisgarh saw 77 percent of the state’s voting population turning up to vote – a 6 percent jump from 2008. A record 81 percent people came out to vote in Mizoram.
The results of the Assembly elections double up as acid tests for all the major political parties in the fray. These results will validate how much punch Narendra Modi really packs for the BJP outside his home state Gujarat and the raucous, limited confines of social media.
These results will give the Congress more of a quantifiable indication of how deep they have sunk in terms of voter confidence. And it will also decide if the AAP can outlive its hype. More importantly, it will decide how the last lap of the election campaigns of the major parties will be designed.
We take a look at the CNN IBN exit polls results and try figuring out what the future holds for the big political players in the country.
Your guide to the latest seat tally, live updates, analysis and list of winners for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 542 constituencies on counting day of the general elections.
Updated Date: Dec 06, 2013 22:16:16 IST