New Delhi: Continuing its golden run at the polls, the BJP is set to tighten its grip on power in Maharashtra and Haryana with the News18-IPSOS exit poll predicting a thumping win for the saffron party and drubbing for Congress in the two states.
According to the exit poll, the BJP may well be within touching distance of the majority mark in Maharashtra on its own. The party is likely to bag 141 seats in the 288-seat Assembly, up from its 2014 tally of 122. Its ally, the Shiv Sena, is also likely to make massive gains, going from 63 to 102 seats in the Assembly.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray are likely to score big wins in Nagpur South West and Worli constituencies, respectively.
The Congress-NCP combine is, however, likely to bite the dust, with some of its strongest leaders facing shock defeats. According to the News18-IPSOS survey, the Congress tally is likely to drop from 42 to 17, while the NCP may go down from 41 to 22. Among the biggest names that may exit the Assembly are former chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan. The battle for Baramati, the bastion of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, may go down to the wire between his nephew Ajit Pawar and BJP's Gopichand Kundlik Padalkar.
In Haryana, the BJP is likely to zoom past the halfway mark, bagging 75 seats in the 90-seat Assembly. The Congress may come down from 15 to 10 seats, but the biggest setback may come for the INLD which may be wiped out altogether.
It, however, may not be smooth sailing for all wrestlers Yogeshwar Dutt and Babita Phogat who took the political plunge and fought on BJP tickets in Baroda and Dadri in Haryana. Dutt, a 2012 Olympics bronze medallist, was up against Congress MLA Sri Kishen, while Phogat faced Nripendera Sangwan of the Congress and Somveer Sangwan, a former BJP candidate who contested as an Independent.
The counting of votes will be held on October 24.
The News18 exit poll survey was conducted by IPSOS, the world’s most credible research agency, using meticulous planning, statistical rigor, high quality data collection, sophisticated analysis techniques and in-depth knowledge.
A total of 72 assembly constituencies were selected out of 288 constituencies in Maharashtra and then 432 individual polling station areas were selected for conducting interviews. In Haryana, 23 assembly constituencies were selected out of the total 90 and then 138 individual polling station areas were selected for conducting interviews.
At each polling station, 25 voters were randomly selected for conducting the exit poll. A total of 10,800 voters were interviewed from 72 assembly constituencies in Maharashtra and 3,450 voters were interviews from 23 assembly constituencies in Haryana.