Results are due on December 3.
It’s the most wonderful time of year – no, not Christmas. It’s when the lull between the end of voting and results day is pierced by the chaos of exit polls.
Voting wound up today for the assembly polls in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram. Adding to the mayhem, the Election Commission revised its original order that said exit polls must be withheld until 6.30 pm, and permitted them to be released from 5.30 pm.
Let’s jump straight into it. Please note, exit polls can be hit or miss, so reader caution is advised.
Madhya Pradesh’s exit polls this evening have probably been the most controversial.
The state assembly has 230 seats and has had a BJP government for the last 18 years. In the 2018 polls, the Congress did win – but lost power 15 months later when Jyotiraditya Scindia went rogue. He left the Congress with 22 MLAs to join the BJP, which then formed government.
During this year’s campaigns, the Congress was tipped to win but the BJP gained strength on the back of its scheme, the Laadli Behna Yojna. Perhaps the exit polls paid attention.
India Today-Axis My India predicted 140-162 seats to the BJP and just 68-90 to the Congress. India TV-CNX predicted 140-159 to the saffron party and 70-89 to the Congress.
Following a similar trajectory, News24-Today’s Chanakya declared BJP the victor with 151 seats. The Congress got just 74. Republic-Matrize wasn’t quite as optimistic but still predicted 118-130 to the BJP and 97-102 to the belaboured Congress.
Times Now-ETG’s exit poll kept the competition neck-to-neck: 105-117 seats to the BJP and 109-125 to the Congress. TV9 Bharatvarsh-Polstrat offered 106-116 to the BJP and 111-121 to the Congress. Dainik Bhaskar predicted 95-115 to the BJP and 105-120 to the Congress. Jan Ki Baat predicted 100-123 to the BJP and 102-125 to the Congress party.
But ABP News-CVoter suggested the Congress will get 113-137 seats and the BJP 88-112. Times Now-ETG also predicted 109-125 to the Congress and 105-117 to the BJP.
With 200 seats in the assembly, will Rajasthan buck its 25-year-old trend of changing parties every five years?
Based on today’s exit polls – probably not.
In the 2018 assembly polls, the Congress and its ally RJD won 100 seats while the BJP was limited to 73.
This time around, the Congress sought votes for its welfare schemes while the BJP’s focus was law and order, paper leaks and Hindutva. The Congress campaign was led by chief minister Ashok Gehlot. The BJP, on the other hand, did not project any CM face and sought votes in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the lotus symbol.
Out of nine exit polls today, six predicted that the opposition BJP will form the government. One estimated that it will be the largest party. The other two offered an edge to the governing Congress party. The majority mark in the assembly is 101.
India Today-Axis My India said the Congress is expected to win 86-106 seats against BJP’s 80-100. If this proves true, independents and smaller parties – predicted to get 9-18 seats – like Rashtriya Loktantrik Party and Bharatiya Adivasi Party, could emerge as kingmakers. In terms of vote share, the Congress is predicted to bag 42 percent with BJP close on its heels at 41 percent.
Similarly, India TV-CNX’s exit poll predicted 94-104 seats for the Congress and 80-90 for the BJP. It gave 14 to 18 seats to others.
The other seven exit polls predicted a favourable result for the BJP.
According to Dainik Bhaskar, the BJP will emerge as the largest party with 98-105 seats. The Congress is likely to win 85-95 seats.
Republic TV-Matrize gave the highest number of seats to the BJP at 115-130, and 65-75 to the Congress. Times Now-ETG also predicted a comfortable majority for the BJP – 108-128 seats to the party against 56-72 to the Congress.
P-Marq and Jan ki Baat respectively predicted 105-125 and 100-122 seats to the BJP, while TV9 Bharatvarsh-Polstrat said the saffron party would barely cross the halfway mark with 100-110 seats. ABP News-CVoter predicted 94-114 to the BJP and 71-91 to the Congress.
Chhattisgarh cast its vote in two phases, on November 7 and November 17. There are 90 seats in the assembly, and Congress CM Bhupesh Baghel is hoping to return for a second consecutive term. In 2018, the Congress won 68 seats and the BJP just 15.
Out of the eight exit polls we’ve listed here, all eight favoured the Congress.
India Today-Axis My India, one of the most reliable exit polls, predicted 40-50 seats to the Congress and 36-46 to the BJP. It gave the Congress a vote share of 42 percent with the BJP settled at 41 percent. The poll saw the Congress losing around 23 seats to the saffron party.
News24-Today’s Chanakya – which calls itself the “only agency to predict the last 3 Lok Sabha elections on dot” – predicted 57 seats to the Congress and 33 to the BJP.
ABP News-CVoter gave 41-53 seats to the Congress and 36-48 to the BJP.The India TV-CNX exit poll gave 46-56 to the Congress and 30-40 to the BJP. The Republic-Matrize exit poll handed 44-52 seats to the Congress and 34-42 to the BJP.
Jan Ki Baat’s exit poll predicted 42-53 seats to the Congress and 34-45 to the BJP. TV9 Bharatvarsh-Polstrat gave 40-50 to the Congress and 35-45 to the BJP, while Times Now-ETG’s exit poll handed 48-56 to the Congress and 32-40 to the BJP.
Down in Telangana, the main contest is between the Congress and the governing BRS, where KCR is the state’s first CM so far and hopes to return for a third term.
There are 119 seats in the Telangana assembly and the BRS – then called the TRS – won 88 seats in the 2018 polls. The Congress then got 19, the AIMIM seven, the TDP two, and the BJP one.
The BJP has high hopes of scratching a better outcome this time in India’s youngest state, with Narendra Modi, Yogi Adityanath and a handful of union ministers holding high-profile rallies.
But it’s not a happy time for KCR this evening, with six out of seven exit polls giving the advantage to the Congress.
The exit poll by Jan Ki Baat predicted a whopping 48-65 seats for the Congress with the BRS predicted to get 40-55. BJP’s prediction was 7-13 and AIMIM 4-7.
Republic’s exit poll with P-Marq in Telangana also gave 58-68 to the Congress, 46-56 to the BRS, 4-9 to the BJP, and 5-7 to the AIMIM. India TV-CNX gave 63-79 to the Congress, 31-47 to the BRS, 2-4 to the BJP, and 5-7 to the AIMIM.
Today’s Chanakya predicted 71 seats, give or take 9, to the Congress.
Chanakya Strategies, which is not the same as Today’s Chanakya, tipped even more in favour of the Congress – 67-78 seats to the party, 22-31 to the BRS, 6-9 to the BJP, and 6-7 to the AIMIM.
The South First-People’s Pulse predicted 62-72 to the Congress, 35-46 to the BRS, and 3-8 to the BJP. India TV-CNX predicted 63-79 to the Congress and 39-47 to the BJP.
The outlier was PSG’s exit poll, which predicted 53-58 seats to the BRS and just 49-54 to the Congress.
It's a neck-to-neck battle for the Mizo National Front and the Zoram People’s Movement in Mizoram, with most exit polls predicting a hung assembly in the state, which has 40 seats up for grabs.
India TV-CNX predicted the governing MNF will win the most number of seats – 14-18. Although the party is an NDA ally at the centre, MNF and BJP are rivals in the state. ZPM, a new party that is banking on anti-incumbency in the state, trailed closely behind with 12-16 seats. The Congress is predicted to win 8-10 seats and BJP 0-2.
Republic-Mairize predicted 17-22 seats to the MNF and 7-12 to the ZPM. The Congress trailed with 7-10, the BJP 1-2. It’s been a tough fight for the BJP in the Christian majority state, also the only of the five election states where Narendra Modi didn’t show up to campaign.
Jan Ki Baat predicted the ZPM will bag 15-25 seats, a fairly large margin, with the MNF trailing with 10-14. The Congress is predicted to get 5-9 and the BJP 0-2.
ABP-CVoter predicted 15-21 seats to the MNF, 12-18 to the ZPM, and 2-8 to the Congress.
Times Now-ETG predicted a hung assembly: 14-18 seats to the MNF, 10-14 seats to the ZPM, 9-13 seats to the Congress, and the usual 0-2 to the BJP.
Axis My India’s poll on India Today was a far cry away from the rest of the polls. It predicted a whopping majority for the ZPM, predicting 28-35 out of 40 seats for the party, a 49 percent vote share, which Rahul Kanwal said was “like Afghanistan winning the World Cup”. It forecast single-digit seats for the MNF (3-7). Congress trailed in with 2-4 seats and BJP 0-2 seats.
Remember these numbers, folks, to see how they line up with results on December 3. On the day, Newslaundry will partner with The News Minute, The Wire, Scroll and The Caravan to unpack the results. This will include conversations with journalists, reporters on the ground, and experts, cutting through the noise and drama to tell you what’s happening. Click here for more.