CHENNAI: Exit polls that have predicted a huge win for the BJP in the national election and a second term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been described as “a lie” by a key BJP ally in the south. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami said, “It’s a lie by exit polls”.
The poll of exit polls predicts 302 seats for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, 122 for the Congress-led UPA and 118 for “non-aligned” parties.
While BJP leaders exulted about predictions of a historic landslide, its Tamil Nadu ally AIADMK has reason to be deeply upset. Tamil Nadu, in fact, is said to be a possible face-saver for the Congress-led UPA. Exit polls predict significant gains for the DMK-led front in Tamil Nadu; it is projected to win 27 of the state’s 39 seats. One result even puts DMK at sweeping 34 of the 38 seats that went for polls.
The ruling AIADMK-led front, which includes the BJP, is given just 11. Polling was deferred in one of the 39 seats, Vellore, after the police and administration cracked down on attempts to bribe voters.
“The AIADMK alliance will win all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry,” said Mr Palaniswami, also known as EPS. In the 2014 national election, the AIADMK – then led by J Jayalalithaa – had won 37 seats with a vote share of nearly 45 per cent, defying all predictions.
Since then, much has changed for the southern party. In 2016, Jayalalithaa, its charismatic and powerful chief, died at 68, leaving the party in disarray and badly divided.
A breakaway faction controlled by Jayalalithaa’s long-time aide VK Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran has been hurting the AIADMK. Fighting as independent candidates with a common symbol, their AMMK is expected to split AIADMK votes, indirectly benefiting the DMK.
Rubbishing exit polls and slamming the BJP, TTV Dhinakaran today said, “After making media carry favourable report about them before polls, they’ve unleashed their next bundle of lies in the name of exit polls. This is to play games during counting after demotivating us. We’ve to be vigilant during counting.”