Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Monday dismissed exit poll predictions that the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam would not do well in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He said there were similar predictions of him losing in the state Assembly elections of 2016, but he proved them wrong, PTI reported.
“In 2016 [Assembly elections] also, such exit polls were done and they suggested that in Salem, the AIADMK will win only three seats and that even I will lose [from Edappadi seat in Salem],” Palaniswami said. “But I won with a difference of 42,000 votes even as the AIADMK won 10 seats against the three [mentioned in exit polls].”
Refusing to comment on Bharatiya Janata Party’s national performance in the exit polls, Palaniswami said he was only commenting on Tamil Nadu. “In Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK and alliance parties will win all 38 seats, besides the one in Puducherry,” he said. “Further, our party candidates will win all the 22 seats where bypolls were held.”
The AIADMK and the BJP announced an alliance in Tamil Nadu in February. The BJP contested five of the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu.
Palaniswami said that AIADMK’s involvement in the central Cabinet can be figured out once the results are declared and that the “true picture” will be clear on May 23. He also accused the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam of “changing colours”.
Union minister and BJP leader Nitin Gadkari said the exit polls were not the “final decision”, but they showed that BJP will be back in the seat of power again. “Exit polls are not the final decision, but are indications,” he told PTI. “But, by and large, what comes out in the exit polls also reflects in the results.”
Most exit polls released on Sunday declared that the Narendra Modi-led government would get another term. Some of them predicted that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government would get more than 300 seats, crossing the 272 majority mark in the Lok Sabha.
Gadkari also put to rest speculations on him being considered as a prime ministerial candidate. “The people of the country are once again supporting the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the work done by us in the last five years,” he said. “And the exit polls are an indication.”
Gadkari said the BJP will be able to secure the same number of seats in Maharashtra this year as the 2014 elections. In 2014, BJP had won 23 out of 48 seats when it contested in alliance with the Shiv Sena.
Union minister and BJP leader Giriraj Singh said Opposition leaders should seek “political repentance”. “After the exit polls, the entire Opposition, including Mamata Banerjee and Chandrababu Naidu, has reached the ICU,” he tweeted. “Now, after the 23rd, all of them must politically repent in front of the public so that they can attain political salvation.” Singh contested from Bihar’s Begusarai against Communist Party of India’s Kanhaiya Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Tanveer Hassan.
‘Exit polls are fraud, ground reality is against NDA’
The Rashtriya Janata Dal dismissed the exit polls that pointed to the NDA’s victory, claiming they were fraud and that the ground reality was against the BJP-led coalition. In Bihar, the exit polls predicted that out of 40 seats, the NDA would secure 30 or more.
In Bihar, NDA is made up of the BJP, Janata Dal (United) led by Nitish Kumar, and Lok Janshakti Party led by Ram Vilas Paswan. The Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress are allies in the state.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav said “market compulsions” were sold in the name of exit polls. “With the help of Sangh-backed institutions and resources, it is the old weapon to play with the psychology of deprived classes,” he said on Twitter. “Dismiss it. We’re winning. Keep a close watch on the strong room. The trick of the Master of the Dirty game is not successful.”
Yadav recalled the 2015 Assembly polls when he made his electoral debut and became the deputy chief minister, PTI reported. He said that in 2015, during counting day, the trends had shown that RJD was going to lose.
Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav said the exit polls were fraud and not the truth. “Ground reality was totally different [and] against the NDA,” he said on Twitter. “Which people have done this survey [and] consists of which castes? Survey is against democracy.” Yadav contested the elections on a Rashtriya Janata Dal ticket.
Communist Party of India’s (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said that in case of a mismatch between the voter-verified paper audit trail slips and the electronic voting machines, all the VVPATs must be counted.
“On VVPATs [and] the EVM tally, the EC [Election Commission] is yet to come out with a procedure in case there is a mismatch!” Yechury said. “Even if there is one mismatch in the VVPAT samples picked for counting and EVMs, to maintain integrity of the electoral process, all VVPATs in that assembly segment must be counted.”
Polling for the seven phases of the 2019 Lok Sabha election concluded on Sunday and the votes will be counted on May 23.