As it happened: General election 2019 | NDA leaders to meet on Tuesday

Highlights from today’s political developments.

May 20, 2019 09:57 am | Updated 08:49 pm IST

File photo of Amit Shah, with Nitish Kumar, Ramvilas Paswan and Bhupendra Yadav, in New Delhi. Leaders of NDA will be meeting on Tuesday.

File photo of Amit Shah, with Nitish Kumar, Ramvilas Paswan and Bhupendra Yadav, in New Delhi. Leaders of NDA will be meeting on Tuesday.



8.30 pm

Exit polls are wrong most of the time: CM Ashok Gehlot

Questioning the reliability of exit polls that have forecast a near clean sweep by the BJP in Rajasthan, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday said that the pollsters’ projections were wrong most of the times in the past.

He said the Congress’ performance in the elections will be good and that the party’s candidates on all the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the State were confident.

Most exit polls on Sunday forecast another term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with some of them projecting that BJP-led NDA will get more than 300 seats to comfortably cross the majority mark of 272 in the Lok Sabha.

In Rajasthan, the pollsters’ forecast said that the Congress was likely to win only five seats as the remaining are expected to be bagged by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“Performance (of Congress) will be good. Exit polls have proved totally wrong several times,” Gehlot told reporters here.

“Exit polls were in favour of the then Atal Bihari Vajpyee government in 2004 and an atmosphere was created through slogans like ‘India Shining’ and ‘Feel Good’ in advertisements but UPA government came to power and ruled for ten years,” he added.

The veteran Congress leader said that he had spoken to party candidates on all the seats and they were confident about winning.

“Exit polls are not necessarily correct always rather they have turned out to be wrong most of the time,” he said.

The Chief Minister further lashed out at the Election Commission, saying it was left with no credibility as it was for the first time since independence that so many allegations were levelled against the poll panel in the general election concluded on Sunday.

On the credibility of EVMs, the CM said that the Supreme Court was convinced that tampering with EVMs is possible therefore VVPAT machines were introduced.

He said the doubts raised by the opposition parties on the credibility of EVMs was in the larger interest of public and the country’s democracy.

He also said that the Congress governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh will complete their tenure of five years.



5.30 pm

NDA leaders to meet on Tuesday

Top leaders of the BJP-led NDA will meet over dinner on Tuesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah expected to be present, party sources said on Monday.

Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Lok Janshakti Party head Ram Vilas Paswan are likely to attend the meeting, which will take place two days before the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha polls on May 23.

A meeting of key BJP leaders, including Union Ministers, is also scheduled to be held in the party headquarters before the dinner meeting with the allies.

5.05 pm

Akhilesh in a huddle with SP leaders after exit poll results

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav addressing an election campaign. File

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav addressing an election campaign. File


Forecast of good showing for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh by the Lok Sabha exit polls had its impact on the Samajwadi Party, with its headquarters Monday bereft of any enthusiasm and the party supremo Akhilesh Yadav going into a huddle with senior party leaders.

A day after curtains came down on polling, there was silence in the opposition party’s office, with Mr. Yadav closeted with SP leaders to discuss future strategy after May 23 results of the lower house of Parliament.

The SP office in Lucknow, which is generally abuzz with activities of party workers, was less crowded in the morning with some party supporters seen discussing the future prospects of the party and outcome of its alliance with the BSP and the RLD to keep the saffron party at bay.

“The exit polls show us in good light. Some of the polls even give us over 50 seats. We are enthused with the exit polls, but are keeping our fingers crossed till the results are out on May 23,” said Ajay Pratap Singh, a party leader from Sitapur, exuding confidence that the alliance candidate will win in his district.

A shop outside the SP office which usually does brisk business wore a deserted look with no buyers though the torrid weather also came in the way of people stirring out of their homes.

“We hope after the counting, if alliance gets required number of seats, there will be demand for flags and other materials,” said Manoj, a vendor.

A group of young people having tea at a stall outside the party office were seen busy discussing results and credibility of exit polls.

“The exit polls have given us (SP-BSP) seats from 10 to 56. A vast range of seats has been projected and it’s up to us to hazard a guess as to how many we are getting. They (exit polls) have only deepened the suspense instead of making the picture clear. We will prefer to wait and watch till the final results are out,” Manoj Mishra, an SP supporter, said.

As far as SP leaders are considered, they seem to endorse their Mr. Yadav’s decision to go for an alliance with the BSP and feel that they would surely make the BJP bite the dust in the state.

“We are confident of our performance. We have made our own analysis and we know that our candidates are winning on a good number of seats. But, we will wait for the results and we will not want to engage in number game at this point,” SP MLC Rajpal Kashyap said.

4.45 pm

Election results to be in consonance with exit polls outcome: Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday expressed hope that the results of 2019 general election would be in consonance with the outcome of multiple exit polls, which has predicted a second term for the Narendra Modi-led NDA government.

Most exit polls have forecast another term for Prime Minister Modi, with some of them projecting that BJP-led NDA will get more than 300 seats to comfortably cross the majority mark of 272 in the Lok Sabha.

“Many of us may continue to squabble over correctness and accuracy of the 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,” Mr. Jaitley said in a blogpost titled ‘The Message of Exit Polls’

Observing that EVMs play no role in exit polls, Mr. Jaitley said if the actual results of the general election are in the same direction as exit polls, “the opposition’s fake issue of the EVMs would also lose its non-existent rationale“.


4.25 pm

Vijayan dismisses exit poll results as ‘speculations’

Rejecting the exit poll results which predicted the return of the NDA government at the Centre, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday said there is no need to rely on “speculations based on speculation“.

Mr. Vijayan, who met mediapersons soon after he returned from a 13-day Europe trip, exuded confidence that the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) will record an impressive win in the Lok Sabha polls.

The exit polls have forecast a poor showing by the ruling Left Front in Kerala.

The polls also showed that the Congress-led United Democratic Front would garner maximum seats from the state.

“There have been many instances earlier when the exit polls have failed to accurately predict the election results. Majority of the exit polls in 2004 had predicted continuation of NDA rule at the Centre, but this was proved wrong. So there is no need to rely on speculations based on speculation,” Mr. Vijayan said, adding that he would wait till May 23.

“There is no doubt that the LDF will register an impressive win in these polls,” he said.

Meanwhile, Congress sources told PTI that the exit polls predicting that the BJP will return to power were an exaggeration.

They said though most of the surveys had predicted around 15 seats for UDF in Kerala, the opposition front was confident of bagging all 20 in the state.

State BJP president P S Sreedharan Pillai also rejected the exit polls for Kerala, which predicted that the saffron party will only get a seat or two in the state.

4.00 pm

Mayawati to wait & watch as BSP treads with caution

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati. File

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati. File


Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati on Monday appeared to be opting for a wait-and watch-policy till the Lok Sabha election results are announced on May 23.

“The future course of action will be decided only after the final results are announced. Till then, she (Mayawati) will be staying put in the state capital,” a party source said, requesting anonymity.

Different exit polls have suggested that the SP-BSP-RLD alliance is all set to dent the BJP's 2014 tally in Uttar Pradesh, though it might not be able to throw a spanner in the formation of an NDA government at the Centre.

Against the backdrop of the exit poll projections, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav drove to the residence of Ms. Mayawati in the morning and held closed-door talks with her for about an hour.

Insiders in both the parties, however, were not ready to accept the projections that gave the BJP over 300 seats to form the government with a comfortable margin.

“We (SP-BSP-RLD) should get nothing less than 55 seats as the alliance has done exceedingly well. We expect around 60 (out of 80) seats. We not agree with exit poll projections,” another source said.

Meanwhile, with most of the BSP leaders preferring to remain in their respective districts after hectic electioneering, there was not much activity in the party camp here.

“The party leaders will come to the state capital only after May 23. They have been asked to stay in their respective districts and oversee the counting process,” a party leader said.

Roads outside the BSP office and Ms. Mayawati’s residence reflected the caution with which the party is treading.

Aiming to check the return of NDA at the Centre, Ms. Mayawati had opted to sink decades-long differences to enter into an alliance with the SP for the Lok Sabha election.

In the 2014 general election, the BJP had won 71 seats, ally Apna Dal bagged 2, Samajwadi Party 5 and the Congress 2, while the BSP drew a blank.

The BJP’s impressive show in Uttar Pradesh helped the BJP to pull off a record 282 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha to oust the Congress, which was decimated to just 44 seats.

With 80 Lok Sabha seats, Uttar Pradesh has the largest number of seats in the lower house of Parliament.

3.40 pm

Giriraj jeers at Opposition over exit polls; it’s a fraud, alleges RJD

The RJD on Monday trashed exit polls predicting victory for the NDA in the general election as “fraud” and contrary to the ground reality against the BJP-led ruling coalition.

Besides predicting a second term for Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, the exit polls have forecast a tally of 30 or more for the NDA out of a total 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.

NDA in Bihar comprises BJP, JD(U) of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswans LJP.

In a statement, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said "reject these exit polls which are simply compulsions of the market purveyed through a different name. It is an old trick of psychological manipulation of the deprived classes by Sangh — supported institutions and resources."

Reminding the people of the 2015 assembly polls wherein he had made his electoral debut and went on to become the Deputy CM, Mr. Yadav said "On the day when counting of votes was taking place, trends shown in the media suggested that we were losing. BJP and its allies had even started bursting crackers."

The Grand Alliance of RJD, JD(U) and Congress had swept the Assembly polls, winning more than two-thirds of the total number of seats of the 243-strong assembly.

"Keep a close watch on strong rooms so that those adept at dirty games do not succeed in their tricks," Mr. Yadav signed off hinting that he suspected manipulation of EVMs, a charge levelled by many opposition leaders.

Veteran socialist leader Sharad Yadav, who is contesting from Madhepura on the ticket of the RJD with which he is expected to merge his own party LJD, also tweeted "Exit polls of Lok Sabha elections are fraud and not the truth. Ground reality was totally different and against the NDA."

Union Minister and senior BJP leader Giriraj Singh used the exit polls projections to attack opposition parties.

"Mamata Banerjee, Chandrababu Naidu and all other opposition leaders have gone into the ICU, politically speaking, after viewing the exit polls. After May 23, these leaders must observe political penance (raajnitik pashchatap) so that they could attain political salvation (raajneetik moksha),"Mr.  Singh tweeted in Hindi.

The firebrand BJP leader, known for his acerbic and often controversial remarks, is himself in the fray from Begusarai Lok Sabha seat in Bihar where he was locked in a triangular contest with CPIs Kanhaiya Kumar and RJDs Tanveer Hassan.

3.20 pm

In case of mismatch with EVM figures, all VVPATs must be counted: Yechury

Reiterating its demand for new rules for counting of votes in constituencies where VVPAT slips do not tally with EVM figures, the CPI(M) on Monday said in such cases, all VVPAT slips should be counted.

Opposition parties have urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) to frame new rules for counting of votes in constituencies where VVPAT slips do not tally with EVM figures after the Supreme Court rejected a review petition filed by 21 opposition parties for increasing VVPAT tallying with EVM figures to 50 per cent.

“On VVPATs & the EVM tally, the ECI is yet to come out with a procedure in case there is a mismatch! Even if there is one mismatch in the VVPAT samples picked for counting and EVMs, to maintain integrity of the electoral process, all VVPATs in that assembly segment must be counted,” Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said in a tweet.

Polling for the seven-phased Lok Sabha election came to an end on Sunday and the counting of votes will be taken up on May 23.

2.15 pm

Projections about AIADMK will be proved wrong: Palaniswami

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami campaigning in Aravakurichi .

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami campaigning in Aravakurichi .


Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Monday sought to make light of the exit polls suggesting a bad show by the AIADMK, saying he had himself proved wrong similar predictions of him losing in 2016.

Mr. Palaniswami exuded confidence that the party and its allies win would all the seats in the State and one in Puducherry, adding that said exit polls were more of “imposing of opinion“.

“In 2016 (assembly election) also, such exit polls were done and they suggested that in Salem, the AIADMK will win only three seats and that even I will lose (from Edappadi seat in Salem),” he said. “But I won with a difference of 42,000 votes even as the AIADMK won 10 seats against the three (mentioned in the exit polls).”

“This is what exit polls are all about. They are imposing of opinion,” the AIADMK leader said, claiming that the predictions would be proved wrong this time also.

Asked about the exit polls suggesting a good show by ally BJP across the country, Mr. Palaniswami said he was referring only to Tamil Nadu as the “AIADMK is not a national party, but a regional one“.

“In Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK and alliance parties will win all 38 seats, besides the one in Puducherry. Further, our party candidates will win all the 22 seats where bypolls were held,” he said. Election to the Vellore seat was rescinded after the recovery of a huge amount of cash.

The AIADMK’s participation in the central Cabinet can be thought about only after the results are declared. The true picture will be known on May 23, Mr. Palaniswami said.

Mr. Palaniswami accused the DMK of changing colours according to the times, he added.

State BJP president Tamilisai Soundararajan had recently claimed that M K Stalin was in talks with the saffron party, drawing a sharp rebuke from the DMK chief.

2.10 pm

We don’t believe in exit polls, says DMK chief Stalin

Even as the exit polls predicted a good show for his party, DMK president M K Stalin on Monday said he does not take the projections seriously and would wait for three days to know people’s mandate.

Lok Sabha results will be declared on May 23.

Asked about the reported meeting of opposition parties convened by Sonia Gandhi to discuss the post-poll scenario on counting day, Mr. Stalin shot back, “who told you there is a meeting on May 23.”

Such reports are only appearing in the media, he said, adding, even the results will be known only late on Thursday.

“Such meetings will be useful only if held after results are known. So we are waiting,” he added.

While the exit polls of various media houses suggested the incumbent BJP-led NDA at Centre would retain power, most of them had said the DMK could net significant number of seats out of the 38 Parliamentary constituencies in Tamil Nadu.

“As far as exit polls are concerned, even if they are favourable to DMK, or not, we don’t take them seriously, don’t accept them,” Mr. Stalin told reporters here.

He said this was the stand adopted by the late party chief and his father M Karunanidhi in the past also.

“In three days, it is going to be evident what is the people’s prediction...we are waiting for that,” he said referring to the counting of votes scheduled on Thursday.

Further, asked if his party would be a part of the next Cabinet formed by “whichever party”, he said, “I can respond to this only after the conclusion of counting on May 23.”

Incidentally, BJP state unit president Tamilisai Soundararajan had recently claimed Mr. Stalin was in talks with the saffron party, which drew a sharp rebuke from the DMK chief who asserted he was with the Congress.

Asked if TDP leader and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu was holding talks with him, Mr. Stalin said the two had been interacting for long.

When his response was sought on reports of a possible meeting between Sonia Gandhi and BSP supremo Mayawati in Delhi on Monday, he said it could be held to take decisions under the prevailing situation.

1.55 pm

Gadkari hints at BJP’s win; says exit polls not 'final decision'

Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday said the exit polls are not the “final decision” but indicate that the BJP will once again come to power, riding on the development work done by the NDA government.

The senior BJP leader was speaking at the launch of a poster of ‘PM Narendra Modi’, a biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, being released this Friday.

“Exit polls are not the final decision, but are indications. But, by and large, what comes out in the exit polls also reflects in the results,” Mr. Gadkari said, replying to a query.

Most exit polls have forecast another term for Modi, with some of them projecting that the BJP-led NDA would get over 300 seats to comfortably cross the majority mark of 272 in the Lok Sabha.

Seeking to set the record straight on speculations of him being in the prime ministerial race, Mr. Gadkari asserted that the new BJP-led government will be formed under Mr. Modi’s leadership.

Asked if his name was also being considered for the PM’s post, Gadkari said, “I have clarified it around 20 to 50 times. We fought the elections under the leadership of Modiji and he will certainly become the prime minister again.”

“The people of the country are once again supporting the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the work done by us in the last five years. And the exit polls are an indication,” he said.

Mr. Gadkari said the BJP will win the same number of seats in Maharashtra as in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Out of the total 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state, the BJP won 23 in 2014 when it contested the polls in alliance with the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena.

Last month, the Election Commission halted the release of the biopic on Mr. Modi, saying it cannot be screened till the model code of conduct is in force, in the larger interest of ensuring a level playing field and “free and fair elections“.

The makers of the biopic announced earlier this month that the film will be released countrywide on May 24, a day after results of the Lok Sabha polls are declared

1:45 pm

Dust mistaken for smoke in HP poll strong room triggers panic

Election officials, accompanied by representatives of various political parties, opened the strong room in Himachal Pradesh’s Reckong Peo on Monday morning after what appeared to be smoke was detected in the CCTV camera footage, a district official said.

Fire fighters reached the spot in no time as it was feared that a fire had broken out, he said.

However, later it was found that the cameras were set to the night vision mode and dust particles spreading in a corner of the strong room gave the impression that it was smoke, he said.

Subsequently, the setting of the CCTV cameras was changed and the strong room was sealed again, the official said.


1.00 pm

Mayawati meets Akhilesh after exit polls projections

BSP supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav met in Lucknow on Monday after exit poll projections that the NDA is all set to form the government again at the Centre.

Mr. Yadav, who had formed a coalition with the BSP and the RLD to take on the BJP, drove to the residence of Ms. Mayawati.

Details of what transpired between the two top leaders was not known immediately.

12.30 pm

TMC busy with post-poll calculations after exit polls

Miffed with exit poll predictions, the Trinamool Congress is busy with post-poll calculations based on reports received from the districts, a senior party leader said on Monday.

Dismissing the exit poll predictions, he said, “We do not have to worry about these exit poll reports, which in most cases do not match.

“We have our internal party report. We also have reports from districts and each and every constituency.”

The TMC leadership is also in talks with various opposition parties in the country, party sources said.

“Most of these exit polls are baseless and biased towards the BJP. We are not bothered about the exit polls.

Talks are on with all the opposition parties on the post-poll scenario.

“It is for sure that the BJP has lost the election. The TMC will play an important role,” said another senior TMC leader, who did not wish to be named.

In West Bengal, some of the exit polls suggested the TMC getting 24 seats, the BJP bagging 16, the Congress two and the Left Front drawing a blank.

Two exit polls telecast by Times Now gave the NDA 296 and 306 seats, while they projected 126 and 132 for the Congress-led UPA.

Dubbing exit polls as “gossip”, Ms. Banerjee had said on Sunday that she did not trust such surveys as the “game plan” was to use them for “manipulation” of EVMs.

The West Bengal unit of the BJP was quick to hit back, asking Ms. Banerjee to “stop living in denial” as the days of her TMC government in West Bengal were “numbered“.

The BJP West Bengal unit in a tweet also asked Ms. Banerjee to stop giving lame excuses.

Although senior TMC leaders sounded confident of winning the polls, some district leaders feel there had been an undercurrent against the TMC, which the top leadership of the party had “failed” to gauge.

"We don't know whether these exit poll results will match with the actual results. But we can say this much that there has been an undercurrent against us this time. Now everything will be answered only on May 23," a TMC leader of West Midnapore district said.

12.10 pm

No guarantee of Opposition ‘alliance’ staying intact by May 23: Sena

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.


The Shiv Sena on Monday hit out at the opposition parties for trying to come together to keep the BJP out of power after the Lok Sabha poll results, saying the country cannot afford to have a coalition government “crawling” with the support of several small outfits.

Taking a swipe at TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu’s efforts to forge an alliance of opposition parties, it said he was unnecessarily exhausting himself by running from pillar to post as there was no guarantee of this “possible coalition” staying intact by the time results are out on May 23.

Elections to 542 seats of the 543-member Lok Sabha ended Sunday and the counting of votes is slated for Thursday.

Most exit polls have forecast another term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with some of them projecting that the BJP-led NDA would get over 300 seats to comfortably cross the majority mark of 272 in the Lok Sabha.

“The ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (proposed grand alliance of opposition parties) has at least five prime ministerial hopefuls...their hopes are likely to be dashed going by the current indications,” the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’

“The country cannot afford to have a coalition government crawling with the help of several small parties,” it opined.

Referring to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s meetings with several opposition leaders in the last few days, the Sena said some people think after the declaration of results, the situation in Delhi (Centre) would be unstable and “they want to benefit out of it“.

“The opposition has assumed the BJP would not come to power, so they are trying hard to gain support of all possible parties to keep the BJP out of power,” it said.

“Naidu is trying for a coalition but in reality, his efforts are going to be futile. He met NCP chief Sharad Pawar twice in Delhi, but there is no guarantee of this possible coalition continuing to stay intact by May 23 evening,” said the Sena, an ally of the BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra.

It claimed the Left parties were unlikely to open their account in West Bengal, and the Aam Aadmi Party was expected to meet a similar fate in Punjab, Delhi and Haryana.

The Left’s base in Kerala was also likely to shrink further, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party said.

“Naidu himself had a hard time in Andhra Pradesh where YSR Congress leader Jaganmohan Reddy seems to be putting up a strong contest. In AP’s neighbouring Telangana, compared to Naidu’s TDP and the Congress, the TRS led by K Chandrasekhar Rao is likely to secure a major win,” it said

11.30 am

Naidu to meet Mamata for post-poll alliance

A day after meeting Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu will meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata on Monday, sources said.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president will meet Ms. Banerjee as part of his efforts to unite opposition parties against the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha election results on May 23.

“Naidu will hold a meeting with Mamata Banerjee at West Bengal secretariat this afternoon. Both will hold talks on the strategies of the ‘mahagatbandhan’ (grand alliance),” a highly placed source said.

During his interaction with Ms. Banerjee, Mr. Naidu is expected to brief her about his meetings with all political leaders in New Delhi over the weekend, the source said.


9.55 am

Rupee, markets rise on exit polls predictions

A view of the BSE building in Mumbai.

A view of the BSE building in Mumbai.


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.


9.50 am

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.


9.45 am

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.


9.30 am

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.

9.20 am

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.


9.15 am

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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