TODAY -

Exit poll predictions
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: June 04, 2024 -



WITH casting of votes in the seven-phase general elections to the 18th Lok Sabha spanning over six weeks finally over, everyone is now waiting eagerly for results of the election, which will be known when the vote count commences from 8 am on June 4.

The five-yearly electoral exercise of electing representatives by the people to the lower house of Indian parliament, which was carried out from April 19 to June 1, had seen as many as 8,360 candidates in the fray across 543 parliamentary constituencies.

Among many other things, the election to the 18th Lok Sabha is sure to harken in the days to come as an electoral exercise which started off on low note but slowly built up to a crescendo much to the surprise of everyone.

So, when all the exit polls projected more than a comfortable majority win for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which will ensure a third term in office for Prime Minister Narendra Modi; Indian National Congress (INC) and its allies in the Indian National Development Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) have out-rightly rejected the predictions, calling them 'fake' and 'Modi media poll'.

The opposition alliance, which continues to assert confidence of winning at least 295 seats and forming the new government, may be having its own reason for rejecting the exit poll predictions that are mostly in tune with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's election slogan of "ab ki baar 400 paar' for the NDA, with BJP alone winning at least 370 seats.

But it would be hard for anyone to discredit the predictions of BJP and its allies returning to power when all the exit polls regardless of whether they are conducted by India Today, My Axis, Today's Chanakya, ABP-CVoter, Jan Ki Baat, INDIA News-D-Dynamics, Republic TV-P-Marq, Republic Bharat-Matrize, or the Poll of Polls by television channel NDTV are saying the same thing.

Of course, it goes without saying that the predictions made by exit polls are just an indicator of polling trends before the declaration of actual election results.

There have been numerous instances in the past when such predictions were way off the mark.

In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, all the exit polls predicated that the NDA, then led by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, would win around 240 to 275 seats comfortably but it was the INC and its allies that ultimately came up winning as many as 216 seats to form the government.

Even in the last two general elections, the exit polls were not accurate in the sense that the predictions failed to gauge the magnanimity of the victory of BJP and its allies.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, most exit poll surveys predicted that the NDA government would win 283 seats, but when the results came out, BJP and its allies ended up winning 336 seats while the UPA government managed a meagre 60 seats, even though the exit polls had predicted winning an average of 105 seats.

Similar was the story in 2019, when exit polls predicted the BJP-led NDA government of winning an average of 306 seats, with the INC-led UPA government restricted at 120.

But when the results were declared, NDA went on to winning as many as 352 seats with the BJP alone managing to consolidate 303 seats, while the UPA ended up with just 93 seats with the INC's performance pegged at 52.

Considering all these precedents, it may be hard to brush aside altogether the scepticism surrounding the predictions made by exit polls.

Having said that, ifone feels that the exit poll prediction regarding the Lok Sabha election conducting in Manipur in the midst of an ethnic crisis, which indicate the INC faring better than the ruling BJP is accurate; then why should anyone doubt the predictions of the BJP-led NDA government returning to power at the centre?

This is just a passing thought as the truth would be known soon. It's just a matter of time and little more patience.



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