News anchors are always castigating governments for adopting with policies they know will never work. But despite having failed with opinion and exit polls over the years, the ratings-hungry channels are persisting with them yet again with the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly polls.

There is nothing unscientific about the process. It’s just that exit polls don’t always throw up accurate results.  What they do generate is a fair amount of viewership for the channels, which is key to generate the revenues needed to cover elections. However, if one were to push aside the arguments about the veracity of these polls and use the outcomes suggested by the various surveys as a possible political status on Sunday, October 19, it would be interesting to speculate what would happen if:

The BJP gets an absolute majority  If this happens, expect Narendra Modi’s 56-incher to swell to 65 inches. A victory in Maharashtra could only be attributed to Modi’s charisma and the essentially non-controversial past of the state unit. It may still make sense for the party to onboard at least one of the three non-Congress forces – the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party or the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena –  to provide stability. The Shiv Sena could provide much nuisance value if not included in the ruling fold.

The BJP gets near-majority, is the single largest party Not exactly a reason for jubilation as it will be the first indicator of Modi losing his edge. The tough talk by the Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray in the last few days before polling could prove to be a spanner in discussions about a tie-up, but it goes without saying that the Sena and the BJP are natural allies. It isn't clear how the Sena will react to a BJP-led government. Unless the Sena seats are inconsequential, it’s not a party that likes to play second-fiddle. Expect it to withdraw support if the BJP makes a move that it opposes.

The Shiv Sena gets majority  Unlikely, but if it were to happen, the question will be whether Uddhav Thackeray will assume the position of chief minister. His father, Bal Thackeray, preferred to play kingmaker and use the remote control, but Uddhav seems to want to head the state government. Expect some interesting moves by youth leader Aditya Thackeray ‒ like nightspots being allowed to stay open.

The BJP and Sena both get under 100 seats  One of the exit polls threw up this possibility. Can’t be dismissed, but the Sena will push for the chief minister's position even if it gets fewer seats. Remember, anything short of majority will bring criticism about how the Modi magic failed to work.

The BJP gains under 100 seats, Sena, Cong, NCP all between 30 and 70 A possibility given the multi-cornered contests, but expect NCP leaders Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel to contemplate a non-BJP/Congress government. The Sena, NCP and MNS are Made-in-Maharashtra parties and some of the NCP leaders have just about been able to make an impact on the national front. But they are still considered Maharashtrian leaders.

The Congress, NCP get majority/near-majority  Even the diehard Congress and NCP leaders are aware that the former ruling parties in the state don’t have a chance. But, strange are the ways of the world, and if the split of votes puts the two on top, it will indeed be Advantage Prithviraj Chavan. The NCP though will pitch for the chief minister’s post if it gets more seats. If this happens, will be a huge loss of face for the saffron parties.

The MNS wins big In the spirit of fairplay, one mustn’t rule out this possibility, even as it appears most unlikely. If this happens, and if the MNS is able to make a bid for the government, it could get the support of a few non unfriendly parties like the BJP.

Cricket, it’s said, is a game of glorius uncertainties. Even though people tracking the mood of the masses may tell you that there still is a BJP wave, the splitting of the alliances could well see an unexpected result. Remember no one guessed the Congress would win in 2004. And not many had predicted a landslide win for the BJP earlier this year in the Lok Sabha elections. We’ll possibly know what happens before noon on Sunday.  Let’s wait and watch.