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19 May, 2019 08:50:25 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 20 May, 2019 03:52:04 PM
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India's Modi set to win election, exit polls show

Independent Online/ New York Times
India's Modi set to win election, exit polls show
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at a rally in Kolkata last month. Getty Images

The world’s biggest election will determine whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi stays in power. Here’s how it happened, and what comes next.

After 39 days of polling involving as many as 900 million voters, balloting in India’s vast parliamentary election came to a close on Sunday, starting a countdown to the announcement of final results on Thursday.

The first batch of exit polls predicted that Narendra Modi, the prime minister, would return to power. According to five different polls released by Indian media organizations Sunday night, Mr. Modi’s party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P, and its allies were forecast to win a majority of seats in the lower house of Parliament.

The Indian National Congress, the leading opposition party, seemed to have done marginally better than its stunning defeat in the last elections in 2014, but it remained a distant second to Mr. Modi’s alliance. Most of the exit polls predicted Mr. Modi’s party and its allies would win about 290 to 300 seats in the 545-seat lower house, which chooses the prime minister.

Though many Indians have complained about rising unemployment and despite accusations that the B.J.P.’s Hindu-first conservative creed is putting Muslims and other minorities at risk, Mr. Modi’s popularity remains vast, particularly among India’s Hindu majority. Many Indians credit him with programs that have helped the poor and cut through red tape and corruption.

Exit polls will start being released soon after the polls close Sunday evening, but the official results will not be released until Thursday. In the meantime, the surveys will drive big headlines in the Indian news media that either the B.J.P. or Congress — or both parties — will seize on as evidence of impending victory.

“In the majority of the cases, exit polls have depicted the true picture,’’ said Josukutty Cheriantharayil Abraham, an assistant professor of political science and director of the survey research center at the University of Kerala. “It may not be correct in terms of the number of seats or vote percentage, but it could definitely show the trends, who is likely to win and lose. In the past, that's been true for the majority of the cases, but there are cases it has gone wrong.”

It also bears remembering that this is a parliamentary election — it’s about parties, not a simple choice between Mr. Modi and Mr. Gandhi. Local issues and rivalries always loom large in Indian elections. And deal-making with smaller parties organized around region or identity may yet play a big role in determining who will become prime minister.

HM

 

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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