The Exit Poll is not exact poll. That never happens but sometimes it gets close to the final tally. So would the December 5 predictions come true? It may be or not.
What do the Exits say? Summarily it says that Delhi will sail the AAP way with an overwhelming majority, Himachal the game is uncertain from a BJP victory on edge to Congress emerging as a close competitor and if it is Gujarat, the BJP is supreme – with 110 to 152 seats of the 182, Congress trailing with a maximum of around 66 seats and the third player though would get 10 to 20 percent votes but would not have a handful of seats.
The Delhi Municipal Corporation (MCD) election trends indicate AAP emerging as a major game changer in north India.
The Exit Poll could be given a passe in Himachal as it remains confused. People in Himachal want the old pension schemes back, jobs as it eludes them, respite from price rise. The apple growers are cheesed of monopolistic trading that hurt them. The BJP trashes all these and says it will change the state trend of rotational government each poll this time. Congress does not agree but is not vocal though apparently vigilant as they could trace some EVMs in a car where it should not have been. It sets an open door – anybody can be a winner despite the BJP president hailing from the state.
Gujarat is easiest to understand for the Exit Poll experts – a sweep for the party ruling for 27 years. Possible. Politics is often struck by wonders. Gujarat despite wishes of rivals seems to be a surprise! That is the game changer or rather spelling continuity. Would it be so? Let us analyze. In Himachal, the samples led to a variable result. In Delhi, the popular mind was speaking and even BJP stalwarts in private concede that AAP is having an edge.
The discontent against MCD functioning was no secret including its highhanded approach during CAA and rioting in some areas, its failure to clean Delhi of rising mountains of a garbage dump, the dismal performance of swachha Bharat, covid19 situations and Delhiites getting jitters by seizing of 10-year-new Euro cars to benefit the automobile lobby. AAP seemingly successfully benefitted on a silent campaign over the issue if the Exit trend reflecting reality. The state BJP also failed to give the required leadership to keep a divided house together. Many BJP leaders squarely blamed the state president for the inability to keep different factions together as once Madan Lal Khurana, VK Malhotra, or Sahib Singh Verma could do.
Three national campaigners – Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah and national president JP Nadda – all are in Delhi. Nowhere the state chief has been blamed so blatantly even not Himachal chief minister Jairam Thakur despite murmurs of his inability to lead the state team. Is Delhi beyond repair for BJP?
In Gujarat, the covid19 regime of VijaiRupani was replaced lock, stock and barrel and Bhupendra Patel who enjoys the trust of Modi hoisted as chief minister. Maybe that has washed away the sins despite Morbi bridge collapse. There were many agitations, dharnas of different sets of workers, some farmers, and other groups. Former minister and close aide of Modi, Jai Narain Vyas, who recently joins Congress, says most agitations were of insignificant nature and none had the dimension of the 2017 Patidar agitation. Possibly these may not work the wonders everyone waits.
Does that explain the extreme silence of the voters? Most observers found that the voters were the least vocal. Except for political rallies and their gatherings, it rarely appeared to be a state going to the hustings. Social discussions were absent. Any query was met with either silence, evasive replies or just that they are with Modi.
It’s not an easy task for the enumerators to mood the gauge. One of the psephologists team C-Voter some days back mentioned they could not understand the pattern of the Congress campaign. It is invisible, low-key. The C-Voter could not find that answer either despite the presence of a galaxy of national leaders camping in the state. They were not seen in rallies except the rare appearance of Rahul Gandhi once and some addresses by newly elected president Mallikarjun Kharge, drawing sharp responses even from the prime minister and Amit Shah, particularly on his more heads than Ravana comment. Congress did not shoot barbs despite Modi saying that he was having tons of gaalis.
How could the Exit Polls gauge that silence to predict that Congress is out of the virtual race? Maybe they are correct. The Exit method is to rely on the voters saying how they voted. Do the voters give the right answer in an uncertain social atmosphere?
The vote percentage was less in the first phase by six percent and the second by about nine percent. It does not reflect in terms of seats for the BJP though it mauls the Congress and eliminates the AAP. The AAP is “hurting” Congress most – a logic difficult to understand why it does not hit the BJP.
Normally a new player hurts different contenders differently. Is the AAP political votekatwa or is it a B team of the BJP? And AAP is shown to get a substantial vote percentage but how does it not turn into relative number of seats. As per some Gujarat statisticians, for each percentage fall in votes, BJP loses three seats and the Congress four.
The Exit Polls conceals more apparently to an enquiring mind. There are comments that it plays to the stock market as well. A small suggested indicator can cause and upheaval in the market and have suitable rewards.
Maybe the Exit Polls are giving the right projections though not logical. The nation has to wait till the final results come out. If they are the same, may be fine, if not the methodology may come in for tearing analysis. Let all wait for some more hours.
The author is former professor at the Indian Institute of mass communication