CHENNAI: A day after exit polls predicted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) having an upper hand in four of the five states which went to polls, leaders of various political parties are busy taking the sting out of the projections saying exit polls are not always reliable.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said the exit polls were “wrong” and claimed the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance would win the elections.
The exit polls had indicated the BJP had a clear lead over other parties in the state even as one of them predicted 285 seats for the saffron party.
Gandhi pointed out the fact that the predictions had gone wrong during the Bihar Assembly elections and this time also, the situation would be the same.
During the 2015 Bihar Assembly elections, most exit polls had predicted a BJP victory. However, the Grand Alliance of the JD (U), the RJD and the Congress had swept the state.
Gandhi is not alone in trashing the predictions of the exit polls.Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad rubbished the exit polls asserting the prediction would fall flat the way it did in Bihar elections.
“Like in Bihar elections, all the exit polls would fall flat in Uttar Pradesh where Samajwadi Party-Congress would emerge victorious,” Prasad said.
“In Bihar elections in 2015, exit polls had predicted BJP-led NDA as the winner. But when EVMs were opened and votes counted, all the predictions were proved wrong,” he said a day before counting. Prasad had campaigned for some candidates of the SP-Congress alliance led by Akhilesh Yadav.
When senior Congress leader and party UP general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad was asked if Gandhi, who single-handedly spearheaded the party campaign in the Uttar Pradesh, would be responsible for the loss or victory, he said, elections are not a referendum on individuals.
“The SP-Congress alliance will win the UP elections despite the exit poll claims,” he indicated.
Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also proclaimed, “We will win all five states, including UP in alliance with the SP.”
The confidence is equally reassuring in the North-east. Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh is confident his party will retain power.“I am optimistic about a clear mandate in favour of Congress. This is a kind of a referendum. We are confident that we will win between 40 and 42 seats. Wait till Saturday and you will know,” he told New Indian Express. The BJP is in no mood to shift the focus away from the exit poll predictions.
“The Congress wanted to gain mileage by making the polls an issue between Nagas and Meiteis. But people knew the kind of game which the Congress and Ibobi were playing,” former Congress minister and BJP spokesperson N Biren told Express.