Exit polls today predicted a victory for the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat, giving it a clear majority in the keenly-contested assembly polls in the state. The polls also showed that the party is set to reclaim Himachal Pradesh.
The BJP is being projected to capture 115 seats in the 182-seat Gujarat assembly, according to the mean tally of exit polls conducted by Today’s Chanakya, Times Now – VMR, C-Voter, and India Today – Axis My India exit poll. The Congress is likely to win 65.
The ruling party may have crossed the majority mark by around 25 seats, but that’s still short of the target of 150 seats it had set for itself. “That’s the target we had in mind and we worked for 150”, Narendra Taneja of the BJP told BloombergQuint.
Former psephologist and politician Yogendra Yadav believes that a seat share between 125 and 130 for the BJP would qualify as a “big victory”. “Anything below 115, closer to 100 or below that, will psychologically feel like something put the BJP down,” he said.
The founder of political party Swaraj India emphasised the significance of vote shares above seats in the final tally. “The BJP has maintained a lead of above 10 percentage points in the last 20 odd years.” he explained. ‘If that comes down to something like 5-6 percent that is a very significant message,” he added.
For the Congress, the Gujarat election has been marked by a renewed aggression in campaign from their new top boss Rahul Gandhi. “There was anger and these emotions have not changed overnight,” said Congress leader Tom Vadakkan.
People won’t tell an outsider who he voted for. Especially the Gujarati is very careful. He does not want to be seen on the wrong side
Tom Vadakkan, Congress Spokesperson
Pre-election polls till the last week of November showed a consistent growth in the Congress’ projected vote share. But aggressive campaigning by Prime Minister Modi in the last one week seems to have turned the tide in the BJP’s favour, if the exit polls are anything to go by.
“I don’t think the Congress actually tried to produce a counter narrative in this election,” according to Hilal Ahmed, Associate Fellow at CSDS. “When you make fun of vikas(development) you have to tell people what meaning you are going to attach to vikas”, he said.