Definite swing away from BJP, say TV channel exit polls


New Delhi : There has been a “definite swing away” from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the first phase of polling in the Gujarat assembly elections, television channels said in exit polls Tuesday night.

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According to exit polls by Star channel, the BJP will get 48 seats, six less than the 2002 polls, while the Congress will gain ground to get 37 seats – an increase of seven seats.The polling shows a one percent swing away from the BJP, the channel said.

NDTV predicted a more definite swing away from the BJP, with the party getting just 40 seats – down 14 from last time, while the Congress will get 43 seats, a gain of 13 seats over the last elections, indicating a two percent swing away from the BJP.

In the first phase of elections Tuesday, 87 assembly constituencies went to the polls spread over 14 districts of Saurashtra, Kutch and south Gujarat regions. Nearly 60 percent of the 17.8 million electorate voted in the first phase of elections to pick a new 182-seat Gujarat assembly.

In the 2002 elections, the BJP had got 54 of the seats in the region while the Congress had got 30.

According to psephologist Yogendra Yadav, in a state like Gujarat even small swings make a lot of difference.

“A 2 percent swing away means the BJP loses substantial votes. A small change in the voting can make a huge difference,” Yadav said on CNN IBN’s special programme on the Gujarat polls Tuesday night.

“It is a neck and neck fight between the Congress and BJP in Gujarat,” the channel said.

“Modi wanted the polls to be a plebiscite on himself, but the turnout shows it is a tight election. It is a negative signal for the BJP, maybe not as negative as the Congress wanted, but negative for the BJP,” observed Yadav.

The channel also said that voters were not swayed by Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s talk of development or his vision for Gujarat. It was an election fought on caste and local factors, showing the return of “normal politics” to Gujarat, the channel said.

The second and final phase of the polling is due Sunday.