Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Exit poll results

Caveat: Exit polls have not always been reliable, and sometimes terribly wrong, in predicting poll outcomes. But for now, we can assume they are correct.

The first fact that leaps out at us is that BJP-TDP alliance has performed dismally in AP. But then, most of the 21 seats that went to polls today are in the Telangana region, where Congress ally Telangana Rajya Sangha is strong. In the Andhra and Rayalaseema areas, Congress is alone. Let's see what happens there. Major concern: Has TDP lost in the assembly polls too?

Karnataka is another significant result - BJP will sweep the assembly if it continues the trend. To note is the fact that the areas that have gone to polls are all in Northern and Eastern Karnataka - the so-called Bombay Karnataka and Hyderabad Karnataka regions. The Congress forte of old Mysore is yet to go to polls. Let's see what happens there.

Maharashtra is still a toss-up. One could say that Cong-NCP alliance has not been able to buck the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance. However, again, sub-regional factors come into play. All the constituencies that have gone to polls are in Marathwada and Vidarbha areas. In Vidarbha, especially, the Congress had suffered the loss of important leaders like Vasant Sathe and NKP Salve quitting the party last year (over separate Vidarbha State demand). Western Maharashtra, the traditional stronghold of Cong-NCP combine is yet to go to polls. So, let's wait and watch here too.

Bihar result may be bad news especially for one man - Railway Minister Nitish Kumar, whose Nalanda constituency (till now held by Defence Minister George Fernandes) went to polls in Phase 1.

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