Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday criticised the Opposition for questioning the accuracy of exit polls. “The hard reality is that when multiple exit polls convey the same message, the direction of the result broadly would be in consonance with the message,” Jaitley said in a Facebook post.
Most exit polls released on Sunday predicted a comfortable majority for the National Democratic Alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party. The exit polls showed that the BJP is likely to lose seats in comparison to the 282 it managed alone in 2014, but its coalition will have enough to cross the majority mark of 272. Opposition leaders West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee dismissed exit polls as “gossip”.
“If the results of the exit polls and final results on the 23rd May, 2019 are in the same direction, the Opposition’s fake issue of the EVMs [electronic voting machines] would also lose its non-existent rationale,” Jaitley said. Jaitley said exit polls were based on personal interviews and EVMs played no role in it, referring to Banerjee’s claim that the exit polls were a means to manipulate or replace thousands of EVMs.
Jaitley claimed a “huge maturing of the India democracy” if the exit polls are read with the results of the 2014 elections. Jaitley said the maturing of democracy was visible from the “messages” that the voter is sending. “Dynastic parties, caste parties and the Obstructionists Left received a setback in 2014,” Jaitley said. “This will be reiterated, loud and clear, in 2019.”
Jaitley said voters do not trust “Coalition of Rivals”, do not elect a hung Parliament, nor do they believe in fake issues. “The personalised campaign against Prime Minister Modi did not cut much ice in 2014 and may not cut any ice in 2019,” he said. “Leaders are judged on merit and not on caste or family names.”
The Union minister criticised the Congress, saying the “first family” or the Gandhi family were not an asset to the party, but an “albatross around neck of the party”. “Without the family, they don’t get the crowd, with it they don’t get the votes,” he said.
Jaitley said the “New India” will accept parties with talent and ideological clarity. He warned that if other parties are unwilling to read the message of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and “possibly 2019”, they will be alienated from the electorate.