Exit polls give confusing signals to voters in UP

Representative purpose only Photo: PTI

People were anxious, glued to their television sets, waiting for 6:30 pm on May 19 as it was the first time that the Election Commission of India had allowed news channels to air their exit polls.

In Uttar Pradesh, the king-maker state with the maximum number of Parliamentary seats (80), the citizens were equally anxious to know the forecast of the psephologists. Various national pollsters — News18-IPSOS, India Today-Axis, Times Now-CNX, NewsX-Neta, Republic Bharat-Jan Ki Baat, Republic-CVoter, ABP-CSDS and Today’s Chanakya — released their predictions.

India Today-AxisRepublic-C-Voter gave a landslide victory figure to the BJP with 68 seats of the 80 in Uttar Pradesh, indicating that there was just no anti-incumbency on UP’s Yogi Adityanath government or the Narendra Modi at the centre.

News 18-IPSOS numbers were healthy for the BJP. It gave 60 to 62 seats to the saffron party and the lowest of 17-19 to the SP-BSP alliance. It gives 1-2 seats to the Congress, keeping the viewer guessing whether Congress president Rahul Gandhi is losing from Amethi or his mother, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi is facing the rout in Rae Barely.
Times Now-CNX predicted a lower number 20 seats for the alliance, 58 to BJP and 02 seats to the Congress party.

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Republic Bharat-Jan Ki Baat exit poll gave the most confusing numbers of all. This channel gave a wide range of 46 to 57 seats to the BJP, 32 to 21 seats to the alliance and 4 to 2 seats to the Congress. This seems to be a very wide and a wayward figure to people who understand even a little bit of politics.

There were some channels which had balancing figures for the BJP and the Alliance.
NewsX-Neta exit poll showed 43 seats to the SP-BSP-RLD alliance and 33 seats to the Congress. This poll gives the most, 04 seats to the Congress. News Nation Channel exit poll says that the BJP would get 38 seats and the SP-BSP-RLD combine would also get equal number of seats. It predicts 02 to 03 seats to the Congress party.

ABP News–Neilsen has given the BJP the worst score in Uttar Pradesh. The opinion poll of the channel gives the most number of seats amongst all–56 to the SP-BSP-RLD alliance and only 22 seats to the BJP. It predicts 02 to 03 seats for the Congress. Bharat Samachar, a local Uttar Pradesh News Channel which operates from Lucknow, has also predicted a landslide victory for the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal Alliance. Its exit poll gives 56 seats to the alliance.

A noted website – www.anthro.ai gives similar figures. It says, “We believe the BSP + SP + RLD will win 54 seats in Uttar Pradesh. We may be wrong about 8 seats. The BSP will win 27. The SP will win 22. The RLD will win 2. We have a few more weak projections for the BSP than for the SP.”

“We believe the BJP will win 21 seats. We believe the INC will win 4 seats. We believe the PSP(L) will win 1 seat. We also believe the BJP will see an average vote share drop of 3-6% and the Gathbandhan will see their vote share rise by 2-5%. But somehow, different poll predictors and election pundits were giving different numbers for the state. People are indeed confused and there are ample reasons for them to be so. There is no ambiguity between pollsters as far as their numbers and predictions for Uttar Pradesh go.

Politicians agree to the numbers that suit them. The others say the final outcome will throw up a different number on May 23. Till then, confusion reigns supreme!

Vivek Avasthi is Senior Editor, Politics, with Business India Television (BTVI).

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