Exit polls on Thursday forecast a tight contest between the incumbent Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party in the high-profile West Bengal assembly polls and put the saffron combine ahead in Assam, while projecting a win for the ruling Left alliance in Kerala and for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led opposition in Tamil Nadu.
The exit poll numbers were largely a setback for the Congress, which while falling short in Assam and Kerala may also lose its government in the union territory of Puducherry to the opposition alliance of All India N.R. Congress-BJP-All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
Exit polls were, however, divided in their forecast for the West Bengal polls, where the BJP ran a high-octane campaign in its bid to capture power in the state for the first time by ending Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s 10-year old reign.
India Today-Axis My India predicted a neck-and-neck contest in West Bengal, giving the BJP 134-160 and the TMC 130-156 seats.
Republic-CNX polls gave the BJP a slight edge by protecting 138-148 seats for the party in the 294-seat assembly and 128-138 to the TMC.
However, Times Now-C Voter predicted a clear majority for the TMC by projecting 158 seats for the party and 115 for the BJP.
Jan Ki Baat exit polls, however, predicted a strong majority for the BJP in West Bengal, giving it 162-185 seats, against 104-121 to the ruling TMC.
The TMC had won 211 seats in 2016 and the BJP only three in the 294-member West Bengal assembly.
The Left-Congress alliance was forecast to be further marginalized in the fiercely bipolar contest.
In Assam, India Today-Axis My India predicted 75-85 seats for the BJP-led combine in the 126-member assembly and 40-50 to the Congress-led opposition.
Today’s Chanakya predicted 61-79 seats for the saffron alliance and 47-65 for the Congress-led opposition in Assam. Republic-CNX gave the ruling saffron alliance 74-84 and the opposition 40-50, while Times Now-C Voter gave them 65 and 59 seats respectively.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan may defy the norm in his state of the two main alliances alternating in power by leading the Communist Party of India Marxist-led alliance to another spell in power, going by various exit polls.
Axis My India predicted a big win for the LDF by projecting 104 seats for it in the 140-member assembly and predicting only 20-36 seats to the Congress-led UDF.
Today’s Chanakya forecast 93-111 seats for the LDF and 26-44 for the UDF in 140-member strong Kerala assembly. CNX predicted a closer fight but still projected a majority of 72-80 seats for the ruling alliance against 54-64 for the opposition.
In another key southern state, Tamil Nadu, Axis My India and CNX forecast a big win for the DMK-led alliance that also includes the Congress.
They gave 175-195 and 160-170 respectively for the DMK-Congress-led alliance in the 234-member assembly. The AIADMK-led alliance, which includes the BJP, was projected to get 38-54 and 58-68 respectively.
Today’s Chanakya predicted 164-186 seats for the DMK combine and 46-68 for the incumbent AIADMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu.