NATIONAL

Opinion poll predicts minor reverses for NDA

NEW DELHI, APRIL 24. Of the 137 seats going to the polls on Monday in the third phase, the BJP and its allies will get 69-81 down from 87 they won in 1999, according to the latest Star News-The Telegraph-Dainik Bhaskar-C-Voter opinion poll.

While the National Democratic Alliance is set to suffer minor reverses, the Congress' coalition will do better than it did in 1999. It would pick up 39-51 seats, up from 29 its constituents won five years ago, a Star News press release said tonight.

In the 32 seats of Uttar Pradesh that go to the vote on Monday, the BJP will retain the 13 seats it won in 1999 but fail to increase its tally.

The Congress alliance will win 22 of the 42 seats in Andhra Pradesh, including nine of the 21 seats where elections will be held on Monday.

In Maharashtra, the Congress and its allies, including the NCP, will pick up nine of the 24 seats that vote on Monday. The combine is likely to win 26 of the State's 48 seats, up from the 16 they won in the last elections.

The RJD-Congress alliance will get six of the 17 seats going to the polls on Monday, doubling their 1999 tally. The NDA will get only 11, down three from the last polls.

The NDA is likely to get around 267-279 seats in the 543-seat Lok Sabha, according to the poll conducted between April 18 and 23. The Congress-led coalition will not win beyond 161-173 seats, it said.

The NDA may fall just short of the majority mark of 273 seats although — given its lead over the Congress — it would be placed better to rustle up the shortfall by picking up new partners.

The opinion poll to gauge the Assembly results was carried out in 114 Assembly segments across Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Orissa, the release said.

According to the findings, the Congress alliance will win 141-153 seats in the 294-seat Andhra Pradesh Assembly. The TDP-BJP appears headed for the Opposition benches with only 126-138 seats.

In Karnataka, the BJP is likely to edge out the ruling Congress winning 107-119 seats in the 224-member House. The Congress will finish a close second with 80-92 seats.

Although the Orissa Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik, will hold on to power, his majority will be considerably reduced.

The BJD-BJP alliance is tipped to win 76-78 seats, just ahead of the majority mark of 74.

PTI

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