Exit poll predicts hat trick for Cong-NCP combine

 
According to what has been described as projection "based on ground analysis of electoral trends in Maharashtra”, an euphemism for exit poll to get around the Election Commission's ban on it, a private Marathi news channel predicted that the Congress-NCP ruling coalition was likely to perform a hattrick by winning between 135 to 145 seats in the state Assembly.

The opposition Shiv Sena-BJP combine will lose a few seats, retaining 105 to 115 seats, thanks to the MNS effect and division of votes. The MNS is likely to open its account by winning 8 to 10 seats, the exit poll predicted.

The Congress, the exit polls suggested, would maintain its predominant position by emerging as the single largest party with 75 to 85 seats, while Sharad Pawar's NCP is projected to get between 55 to 65 seats.

The Shiv Sena is also likely to get 55 to 65 seats and its longtime partner, the BJP, is likely to between 45 and 55 seats. Others, which include smaller parties, and independent candidates may get between 25 and 35 seats.

Several Bollywood celebrities including Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra and Gulzar turned out to exercise their franchise. The stars also included Aamir Khan, Sanjay Dutt and John Abraham who waited patiently in the queue to cast their ballots.

Octogenarian Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray cast his vote in Bandra along with son Uddhav. He had asked the people to turn out in large numbers to vote for the Sena-BJP, without getting swayed by the MNS led by his estranged nephew Raj Thackeray.

On his part, NCP president Sharad Pawar, who cast his ballot in Baramati, stated categorically that there would be no truck with the MNS. His nephew and NCP leader Ajit Pawar had said last week that his party was open to alliance with any party, including the MNS, to form a government in the state.

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