UPA barely ahead of NDA in photo finish: Exit polls


New Delhi : Election 2009 will deliver a fractured verdict, with the Congress-led UPA finishing barely ahead of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA, exit polls conducted by various TV news channels predicted Wednesday night.

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The CNN-IBN poll said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) would be the single largest coalition with 185 to 205 seats while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would finish anywhere between 165 to 185 seats in the 545-member house.

The predictions for UPA does not include the projections for the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), which are together expected to bag 25-35 seats. The latter two are part of the UPA coalition but contested independently of the Congress, while the Samajwadi Party joined them in what is being termed the Fourth Front.

The survey gives 110-130 seats to the Third Front that is led by the Left parties.

According to the Star News-Nielsen exit poll, the UPA is likely to bag 202 seats and the NDA 198 seats. The Congress itself was projected to win 157 seats and the BJP 154. The Third Front could settle with 97 seats, while the Samajwadi Party, the RJD and LJP are collectively likely to bag 34 seats.

Headlines Today gave the Congress and its allies 191 seats against 180 for the BJP and its allies.

The Left parties, which supported Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government until July last year, were projected to get 38 seats, a huge fall from their existing tally of 60-plus.

The remaining seats were credited to smaller and regional parties, including the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati.

India TV said the UPA will be the single largest coalition with 195-201 seats, while the NDA was expected to win 189-195 seats.

It gave the Third Front 113-121 seats, which would grant its constituents a huge say in government formation.

The UPA tally could go up to 227-237 if the seats bagged by the Fourth Front partners were also to be included, India TV said.

The Times of India projection gave the UPA 199 seats, with the Congress alone bagging 154. The NDA was poised to get 183 seats with the BJP getting 142.

NDTV released its exit poll findings for only six states – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, totalling 196 seats.

It gave the UPA 77 seats, the NDA 72, the Third Front 39 and six to the Fourth Front.

The Congress had defeated the BJP in the last general elections in 2004 and then cobbled the UPA with the support of the Left.

The exit polls, however, were way off the mark in the 2004 elections. Nearly all of them predicted an NDA victory by a wide margin, but the BJP-led grouping lost to a rejuvenated Congress.