BJP to retain power in Maharashtra, Haryana assembly polls

Published : 22 Oct 2019 07:33 PM | Updated : 30 Aug 2020 08:57 PM

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is projected by all exit polls to retain power in Maharashtra and Haryana in the assembly elections polling for which was held on Monday in the first major poll battle since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party return to power with a landslide mandate in parliamentary election five months ago.

Actual results will be declared on Thursday.

The exit polls conducted by various TV channels in partnership with poll agencies soon after polling hours ended at 6pm Indian time gave a clear advantage to the BJP in the race for 288-member Maharashtra assembly and 90-strong Haryana legislature.

In Maharashtra, an aggregate of the various exit polls gave the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance 211 seats, much above the majority mark of 145 in the 288-member legislature, and the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine just 64 while in Haryana, it predicted that the BJP is likely to win 66 of 90 seats while the Congress scores 14.

The Times NOW exit poll gave 230 out of the 288 seats in Maharashtra to the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, and 71 seats in the Haryana assembly to the BJP. The CNN-ISPOS poll gave 243 seats to the ruling alliance in Maharashtra and 75 seats to the BJP in Haryana, while the ABP-CVoter exit poll gave 204 seats to BJP-Sena in Maharashtra and 72 seats to the BJP in Haryana. The prediction by India Today-Axis was on the lower side — giving 180 seats to BJP-Sena.

Going by the exit poll projections for Maharashtra, the BJP-Sena strategy to campaign on the twin planks of nationalism and the administrative record of its state government seems to have paid off. Besides Article 370, this would include raising the emotive issue of promising Bharat Ratna to Hindutva icon V D Savarkar.

Some opinion polls showed Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) overtaking the Congress in Maharashtra. If that comes true when votes are counted, it will be a double whammy for the Congress already reeling under a debacle in the parliamentary elections four months ago.

A listless Congress was evident during campaigning in Maharashtra where NCP chief Sharad Pawar had launched an all-out charge against the BJP-Sena combine given his high stakes in the polls.

The BJP’s campaign in the two states was led by Modi and party chief Amit Shah who attacked the opposition over its criticism of the Indian government’s decision to scrap Article 370, which gave special constitutional status to Jammu and Kashmir.

In its campaign, the Congress attacked the Modi government over the economic slowdown and unemployment.