New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to form the government once again in Haryana and Maharashtra, with exit polls predicting a convincing victory in the assembly elections held Monday.
As per NDTV’s ‘Poll of Exit Polls’, the BJP is likely to get 66 of the 90 seats in Haryana, and along with its ally Shiv Sena, 211 out of 288 in Maharashtra.
The CNN News 18-IPSOS exit poll is giving the BJP alone 141 seats in Maharashtra, 19 more than its 2014 tally of 122. The BJP-Sena alliance, it predicts, will get 243 seats.
However, there is wide variance in the exit polls, with the India Today-AXIS My India giving the BJP-Shiv Sena combine a range of 166-194 seats in Maharashtra, the lowest of any exit poll.
In 2014, the BJP had won 122 seats and the Shiv Sena 63. The old allies had fought those polls separately but reunited to form the government.
In Haryana,India News-Polstrat’s exit poll is giving the BJP 75-80 seats, the highest of any poll, while TV9 Bharatvarsh is giving it a lowest of 47, and the Congress a highest of 23.
BJP is expected to win 66 of 90 seats in Haryana according to the ‘Poll of Exit Polls’. In Maharashtra, BJP-Shiv Sena alliance is expected to bag 211 of 288 seats.
The BJP had won 47 seats in Haryana in 2014, coming to power on its own for the first time.
Positive signs for incumbent CMs
The polls indicate that the BJP’s 2014 choices for chief minister in both states — Manohar Lal Khattar in Haryana and Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra — have paid off.
Back then, the party had fought elections focusing on brand Modi, naming RSS pracharak Khattar and former Nagpur mayor and three-time MLA Fadnavis as CMs after its victories.
However, in the intervening five years, both leaders seem to have managed to carve out a niche for themselves, focusing their own campaigns on development, while national-level leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah concentrated on big-ticket issues like nationalism, Article 370 and the National Register of Citizens.
Modi and Shah also targeted the opposition for opposing the scrapping of Article 370 and for being in “disarray”.
The opposition, it would seem, has been unable to put up a strong fight — whether it is the Congress alone in Haryana, or with its ally, the Nationalist Congress Party, in Maharashtra.
The contrast in aggression between the parties is evident from the fact that while PM Modi addressed seven rallies in Haryana, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi only addressed two.
The “missing” opposition seems to have failed to highlight the issue of economic distress, lack of job opportunities, or to project itself as a viable “alternative” in the eyes of the public, though it did raise these issues in press conferences.
The comparative lack of funds to run the campaign also seems to have affected Congress in Maharashtra, as four rallies supposed to be addressed by the Congress CM of neighbouring Chhattisgarh, Bhupesh Baghel, had to be cancelled.
In Haryana, on the other hand, the Congress’ divided house doesn’t seem to have been put in order in time.