Exit polls released on Sunday indicate that India’s ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to win around 300 seats in the 542-member lower house of Parliament.
Results of the exit polls conducted by various firms in partnership with leading media houses were released after the last phase of elections ended at 5 pm.
Counting of votes will take place on May 23. Early trends will be knows by 11 am and most results will be known by evening.
The India Today-Axis poll and CNN-News18-IPSOS survey indicated a clean sweep by BJP in the large and decisive segment of Uttar Pradesh (UP).
Other poll surveys disagreed but said the party’s gains in Odisha and Bengal will make up for its losses in UP.
According to CNN-News18-IPSOS poll, BJP will be able to cross the half-way mark to form a government on its own.
Defying media reports, the exit polls predicted a strong Modi wave as in 2014.
Polls said his party will retain its hold in central and western India.
The surveys did not show any remarkable comeback for Congress president Rahul Gandhi or a wave by his sister Priyanka Gandhi as reported by a section of media.
Congress will get more than the Communist party in Kerala and BJP will open account in that state, most poll surveys said.
Opposition leaders dismissed the exit polls as inaccurate and mere gossip.
Congress leader and Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh said he does not trust exit polls.
Congress ally and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said such surveys are part of a game plan by the federal government to manipulate or replace thousands of EVMs through gossip.
However, another Congress ally and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said every single exit poll cannot be wrong.
If the exit polls prove true, it will be a big blow to some 20-odd mainstream and regional anti-BJP parties who formed a pan-India grand alliance ahead of national elections to throw the Modi government out of power.
Ignoring issues affecting people’s lives, these parties turned the election campaign into a clash between Modi and the Opposition. They ran a sustained vilification campaign against him over Rafale fighter jets deal and his family ties and called him names.
Modi accepted their abuses as a “gift” and reminded voters at rallies that these are desperate acts by parties who know they are going to lose the polls.