Posted by: John Elliott | December 14, 2017

Exit polls give Narendra Modi’s BJP victory in Gujarat

Rahul Gandhi pushes Congress vote up a forecast 10 seats 

Exit poll in Himachal Pradesh shows BJP defeating Congress

Exit polls published by television channels indicate that Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party is holding on to power in his home state of Gujarat. Most show it winning  in the range of 105-125 seats compared with the 115 it had in the last election in 2012. This is in line with the widely predicted result and would mean that the BJP’s ambitions significantly to increase the 2012 tally have failed.

The polls mostly indicate that Rahul Gandhi’s Congress Party has won in the range of 65-75 seats, adding five to 15 seats to 2012’s total of 61. If correct, this would mean that  Gandhi has managed to have an impact on the votes, though not as significantly as the party had hoped.

This modest Congress success would however have to be set against the polls suggesting that the party  is facing a devastating defeat in the northern hill state of Himachal Pradesh, with the BJP seizing power for the first time with 47 to 55 seats against Congress’s 13-20. The outgoing Congress chief minister is facing serious corruption allegations which will have affected voting.

PM Modi casts his vote in Gujarat

The votes in both states will be counted on December 18 and, if the exit polls are correctly forecasting clear BJP victories, the results should be known soon after midday. Such polls can of course be wrong because they depend on voters telling the truth when they leave election centres!

The last day of voting on December 14 in Gujarat was marred by a controversy over Modi ignoring Election Commission rules by  staging a virtual road show after he cast his vote (above). The prime minister’s critics see this as evidence of his lack of respect for India’s established institutions, though there are also other allegations of less dramatic rule-breaking, including Gandhi taking part in a television interview.

The Election Commission has reported that the voter turnout in Gujarat was 68%, down from 71.3% in 2012. This supports the likelihood of the BJP staying in power because there has not been the surge in voting that usually indicates a desire for a change of government.

After 22 years of BJP rule in Gujarat, with Modi as a widely-praised chief minister from 2001 to 2014, the prime minister’s aim has been to show that his populist vote-pulling power remains strong enough for the party to achieve the considerable feat of being voted back for a sixth term in office.

For Gandhi, who will formally take over from his mother Sonia Gandhi as Congress president on December 16, the aim has been to demonstrate that he is now capable of reviving the party’s flagging prospects and propelling it to victory in 2019.

If the exit polls are correct, Modi will have succeeded in rescuing the BJP from the failings of the state government while Gandhi will have taken the first steps in establishing himself as a viable Congress president.

SEE ALSO: Gujarat election used by Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi to boost national ambitions

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Responses

  1. I don’t think Congress will be able to bag 50 seats. BJP should be winning with a record margin of seats. People are in no mood to offer any face-saving comfort to RaGa, the Congress, and their loyal poodles in the media and intelligentsia.


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