Pollsters predict TMC’s edge in WB, but Mithun’s entry puts their projections to a toss

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(MS Shanker)

The stage is set for crucial Assembly elections in five states where voters will exercise their franchise to choose a new government. The Election Commission has announced the schedule for these elections, with West Bengal holding the longest polling in eight phases. As the political parties head into campaigning mode, ABP News and C-Voter tried to gauge the mood of the voters.

They claim that the situation is in favor of Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, though the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to see a better prospect. The Congress is expected to receive a big jolt in Assam, according to ABP-C-Voter opinion poll.

In fact, these polls were conducted much before several interesting developments took place.  For example, the pollsters have not taken the fact of Suvendhu Adhikari entering the electoral fray to challenge Mamata in Nandigram, or Bengal’s ‘real star” Mithun Chakaravarthi joining the BJP and being made the chief ministerial candidate face of the rightist party, or massive exodus of TMC members into the BJP.

Can anyone dare overlook these developments that are indeed factors for the BJP to tilt the scales and upset Mamata’s apple-cart?  What if Mamata loses battle against Suvendhu Adhikari in Nandigram?  (None should forget even more popular faces like Indira Gandhi and NT Ramarao losing polls to political lightweights.  But, in case of BJP’s Suvendhu, he is no political novice).

Likewise, even in Tamil Nadu, the pollsters projections may go for six, with latest developments like when Sashikala (‘‘Chinnamma” as she is affectionately called by AIADMK cadres) got released from the Bengaluru prison and quit active politics, besides even withdrawing her petition over ownership claim of AIADMK against CM Palainswamy-led faction.

In fact, she made a clarion call to the party cadres to ensure DMK’s defeat and her decision to ‘sacrifice’ her political career was only to accomplish that objective.  Added to that PM Modi and HM Shah’s combined aggressive campaign may help improve the ruling AIADMK’s chances of winning against Stalin-led DMK to which the pollsters give a clear edge.

Though ‘super star’ Rajnikant is yet to make up his mind about the campaign – whether to oblize his co-star Kamal Haasan’s Tamil Makkal party or the BJP, if he does, then that should upset the pollsters calculations too.

As far as Assam is concerned, none of the pollsters seems to have found any difference that the ruling BJP-alliance is bound to sweep polls for the second consecutive term.

What is more surprising is the pollsters projections in Kerala.  Never in the recent past could any alliance, either the Left Front-led or Congress-led, win for the second consecutive term in. But, how come they see Left-Front led combination retaining power, is one is unable to understand.  Added to that is the latest development in which the CM’s name is been named in the multi-crore Gold scam by none other than the prime accused.  Shouldn’t that make a difference?  Moreover, the BJP, which had been a loner, but now managed to rope-in Churches to its support and almost decided to project Metro-Man Sridharan as its ‘CM face’, may also prove pollsters going wrong even in this case too.

As far as Puducherry is concerned, yet again there is unanimity among pollsters that the BJP has an edge over the Congress-led alliance.

Here’s a look at the results of the pre-poll surveys by various pollsters:

West Bengal: Looking at the trends, Banerjee will score a hat-trick in the Assembly election, according to the opinion poll. The ABP-C-Voter poll said the Trinamool Congress (TMC) is likely to get 148-164 seats in the 294-member Assembly. The BJP, meanwhile, can get 92-108 seats, the opinion poll further said. There is bad news for the Congress and left Front, which ruled the state for more than three decades. The Left-Congress alliance may get 31-39 seats, according to ABP-C-Voter poll.

Puducherry: The Congress is likely to receive a big setback in the union territory, the opinion poll said. The BJP will be able to form the government in Puducherry by winning 17-21 of the 30 seats, said ABP-C-Voter. The Congress tally is likely to shrink to 12, it further said.

Kerala: The Left government is expected to survive in Kerala, the opinion poll said. It predicted that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) led by CPI(M) is expected to get 83-91 of the 140 seats. On the other hand, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) may get anywhere between 47-55 seats in the upcoming assembly election. The BJP may barely get two seats, the ABP-C-Voter opinion poll said.

Assam: The BJP-led alliance is likely to retain power in the state, the ABP-C-Voter survey said. Out of the state’s 126 seats, the opinion poll predicted 68-76 seats and 42 per cent vote share for the BJP, and 43-51 seats and 31 per cent vote share for Congress-led alliance. The others may get 5-10 seats in the state.

Tamil Nadu: MK Stalin led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) can return to power in Tamil Nadu, the ABP-C-Voter opinion poll has predicted. The DMK is likely to get 154-162 of the state’s 234 seats, whereas the ruling AIADMK 58-66, the survey further predicted. In terms of vote share, the DMK is expected to get 41 per cent whereas AIADMK 29 per cent.

In that backdrop, one has to wait and see how far these predictions of pollsters will be accurate or go for a toss like it has happened in the past.

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