Highlights from today’s political developments.
Rupee, markets rise on exit polls predictions
The rupee and bonds rallied at market opening on Monday after exit polls suggested the election will give a clear mandate for the ruling party led coalition.
But traders said market gains would be kept in check ahead of the vote counting on Thursday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to return to power with an even bigger majority in parliament after a mammoth general election that ended on Sunday, exit polls showed, a far better showing than expected in recent weeks.
Exit polls are not exact polls, most have gone wrong since 1999: Venkaiah Naidu
Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu has mocked at the exit polls, saying they were not exact polls. “Exit polls do not mean exact polls. We have to understand that. Since 1999, most of the exit polls have gone wrong,” the Vice-President pointed out.
Mr. Naidu addressed an informal meeting of well-wishers on May 19, who felicitated him in Guntur.
Referring to the ongoing general elections, he said every party exuded confidence (over victory). “Everyone exhibits his own confidence till the 23rd (day of counting). There will be no base for it. So we have to wait for 23rd,” he remarked.
“Country and the State need an able leader and stable government, whoever it be. That’s what is required. That’s all,” Mr. Naidu observed.
The Vice-President also said change in society should start with political parties.
After Chandrababu Naidu, Mayawati may meet Sonia Gandhi today
Notwithstanding the exit polls results that have given a clear victory to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), all eyes are on a possible meeting between Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday.
Though there is no official confirmation about a Mayawati-Sonia Gandhi meeting, sources confirmed to The Hindu about the BSP chief’s plan to fly down to Delhi.
If the meeting does take place today, it would signal a thaw between the Congress and BSP as the party had kept away from all the recent meetings convened by the Congress, including the ones that were meant to oppose Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s policies.
Exit polls predict second term for PM Narendra Modi
All exit polls released at the conclusion of the seven-phase 17th general election predicted a second term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.
Count on democracy
Most polls indicated minor to considerable setback for Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh where it won 71 of 80 seats in 2014, but they were in agreement that the party would firmly hold on to its strongholds in the north and west and make considerable gains in West Bengal.
Trailing in south
In southern States barring Karnataka, the BJP is projected to trail far behind opponents. The Congress and its allies are projected to make significant gains compared to the historic low they hit in 2014, but will end up some distance away from the halfway mark of 272 seats in the 543-strong Lok Sabha, according to these polls.
BJP likely to grab five to seven seats in Delhi, suggest exit polls
Exit polls released on Sunday evening after the last phase of the Lok Sabha election gave the BJP between five to seven seats in Delhi. AAP and the Congress, the pollsters predict, may get between zero and one seat each. Delhi has seven Lok Sabha seats.
Exit polls are only indicators and pollsters have often got it wrong but a majority of the exit polls have the BJP making a clean sweep in the city, as it did in 2014.
The ABP-CSDS exit poll gave the BJP five seats and one each to Congress and AAP, while Times Now-VMR and India Today-Axis gave the BJP six seats, and one to the Congress.
The Republic-Jan Ki Baat exit poll gave the BJP six to seven seats, adding that AAP will win zero or just one seat. Republic CVoter gave the BJP all the seven seats in Delhi.
The issues that mattered in an issue-less election
With reports of joblessness being at a four-decade high, a deepening agrarian crisis and a recent spike in food prices, it was widely expected that economic issues would end up mattering the most to Indians when they vote in the Lok Sabha election.
This expectation was not misplaced given that there is a fairly large body of work in Western democracies that is centred on the effect that the state of the economy has on election outcomes.
However, a nationwide post-poll survey, conducted by Lokniti during the past one month after each phase of election, has thrown up data that seem to be somewhat at odds with this presumption.
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