Narendra Modi is returning to power with a bang, the News18-IPSOS exit poll has projected.
The incumbent Prime Minister is projected to steer the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to majority in the Lok Sabha on its own with 276 seats. That is just six seats short of the 282 seats it won in 2014.
If this projection holds true on 23 May, it will be the first time in 48 years that a majority government is re-elected with a majority.
The picture for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is prettier at 336 seats in all, a tad better than in 2014.
The survey also indicates that Rahul Gandhi’s Indian National Congress is likely to repeat its poor showing of 2014. It is projected to improve its all-time low of 44 seats by just two seats (46).
The picture is equally unimpressive for the United Progressive Alliance, the large network of parties led by the Congress. The UPA is projected to get 82 seats.
The survey indicates that the Modi landslide will demolish the caste-calculus of the SP-BSP combine in Uttar Pradesh while in Bengal, Mamata Banerjee’s TMC would just about to manage to hold on to its terrain despite decent gains by BJP. Odisha could yield significant results to BJP, which is poised to sweep heartland states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, predicts the poll. Even in Karnataka the BJP is set to sweep the poll with nearly 23 seats at the upper end.
The News18-IPSOS survey, one of the most comprehensive exit polls undertaken in Indian electoral history, was conducted among 1,21,542 voters from 199 parliamentary constituencies. Within parliamentary constituencies, 796 assembly constituencies were selected, and then 4776 individual polling station areas were selected for conducting interviews. Four to six assembly constituencies were selected in each parliamentary constituency using systematic random sampling (SRS) process. In each assembly constituency, six polling stations were selected and, importantly, all interviews were conducted face to face and on the election days in all seven phases.
News18’s polling partner was IPSOS, one of the world’s top polling companies with a track record of predictions around the world. It predicted accurately Brexit and election outcomes in the US, Germany and elsewhere in Europe.