Sharply varying exit poll numbers in key states trigger uncertainty

Ranchi/ New Delhi/ (IANS): A general consensus appears to have emerged among political parties that the Bharatiya Janata Party will emerge as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha. However, the exit polls raise the question whether the party will have clear numbers, as in 2014, to easily push the NDA tally over the 272 mark in the Lok Sabha.

There are wide divergences in seats that exit polls give to the BJP and its main contenders in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha -- they have become important because presumed losses in BJP strongholds in the Hindi heartland are expected to be offset by gains there.

There is a fourth state where the BJP is not a player but which is poised to play a key role in government formation if the neither the NDA nor UPA gets a clear majority -- that is Andhra Pradesh. There is a divergence in seats for the two main players, the YSR Congress Party (TSRCP) and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), who could play kingmaker in possible government formation.

Together these states comprise a hefty 168 seats which could prove crucial in a touch and go situation. This is perhaps why after the initial euphoria of the stock market following the publication of the exit polls on Sunday which projected that the BJP would be the single largest party -- the stock market rose by 1,422 points on Monday -- the markets fell by 382 points on Tuesday.

The divergences and the wide band within which the exit poll projections are made suggest that the numbers could favour either side in these states, indicating that they could emerge as the swing states.
Consider Uttar Pradesh. Various opinion polls suggest that the tally could be between 33 seats and 65 seats out of 80 for the NDA and between 13 and 43 seats for the mahagathbandhan comprising the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). The Congress, does not figure in the calculations, and is given a highest of four seats in the exit poll projections.

For Uttar Pradesh, Times Now VMR has projected 58 seats for the NDA and 20 for the mahagathbandhan, News24 Today’s Chanakya has projected 65 seats to the NDA and 13 to the mahagathbandhan, IANS-CVoter gives 38 to the NDA and 40 to the mahagathbandhan, News18 Ipsos gives 60-62 seats to the NDA and 17-19 seats to the mahagathbandhan while NewsX Neta has projected 33 to the NDA and 43 to the mahagathbandhan.
A similar divergence is evident in West Bengal, described by many as the Ground Zero for this election.

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