BJP basks in exit poll results; Opposition dismissive

Representative image. (PTI photo)

With most of the exit polls forecasting a two-thirds majority for the BJP-led NDA in Maharashtra, the ruling party on Monday said the figures were in line with its expectations, while the Opposition trashed the numbers, saying true picture will be "way better".

The Maharashtra Assembly elections on Monday saw a voter turnout of around 63 per cent.

Results of exit polls, conducted immediately after voters leave polling stations, were out minutes after voting ended at 6 pm.

Also read — Assembly Elections: BJP predicted to win 2/3rd majority

The India Today-Axis exit poll projected 166-194 seats for the BJP-Shiv Sena combine in the 288-member assembly and 72-90 for the opposition Congress-NCP alliance.

The simple majority mark in the state is 145.

The exit poll by News18-IPSOS gave the BJP a near- majority on its own by predicting a whopping 142 seats for the party and 102 for its ally Shiv Sena.

The Congress and NCP, who together ruled Maharashtra for 15 years (1999-2014), are projected to bag just 17 and 22 seats, respectively, it has forecast.

The ABP-C Voter predicted 204 seats for the BJP-Shiv Sena and 69 for the Congress-NCP.

The poll results will be out on October 24.

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Asked about exit poll results, Maharashtra BJP chief spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said they were on expected lines.

"The exit poll survey (figures) and today's voting percentage are as per expectations. The voting per cent seems to be same as that was during 2014 polls. There seems to be no big difference," he said.

Bhandari said the BJP rode on the "pro-incumbency wave" during the April-May Lok Sabha polls and this sentiment persisted during the Assembly election, too.

"And that sentiment will translate into seats," he added.

Shiv Sena leader Sheetal Mhatre told a news channel that the party expects more seats will come its way.

"We will definitely win 90-100 seats. We are sure the Mahayuti will form government," she added.

NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik though questioned the exit poll figures.

"What is the sample size of the surveys? Sometimes exit poll surveys depict right picture, while sometimes they are incorrect. So, the true picture will be known on October 24," Malik said.

Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant seconded Malik and dismissed the surveys.

"Exit polls are not accurate. News channels had suggested different result during the opinion poll two days ago. So, these are going to change. We will do way better than the figures shown in exit poll surveys," he added.

In 2014, the BJP and the Sena, contesting separately, had won 122 and 63 seats, respectively. The Uddhav Thackeray- led party had later joined the BJP government. 

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