With most of the exit polls indicating a fifth consecutive term for Naveen Patnaik-led BJD in Odisha and substantial gains for BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, both the rival parties on Monday refused to accept the predictions, claiming the results on May 23 will be different.
Majority of the exit polls have projected that BJP would win more than half of the total 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha and the BJD getting reduced to a single digit.
The prediction throws a major surprise as in 2014, the BJD had bagged 20 Lok Sabha seats in the state while the saffron party had one seat of Union Minister Jual Oram in its kitty.
In the Assembly election, Naveen Patnaik’s party is ahead as per the exit polls forecast.
Last time, BJD had secured 117 seats in the 147 member Odisha Assembly. The BJP could win only 10 seats in the assembly while Congress had 16 MLAs.
BJP state unit president Basant Panda and Union Minister Jual Oram claimed that the saffron party will form government in Odisha by securing more than 70 of the 147 seats in the assembly.
“We are confident that BJP will form government both at the Centre and in Odisha. Our own assessment shows BJP will win more than 300 Lok Sabha seats, while over 70 party candidates will register victory in Odisha assembly polls,” Oram said.
“A strong Modi wave was sweeping across the country and the voters were highly impressed with the charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” both Panda and Oram said.
The state’s main opposition party – the Congress, on its part, claimed that its performance this time will be much better than its 2014 election show.
Dismissing exit poll predictions about the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) performance, party spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member PK Deb said, “We are certain that BJD will secure two-third majority in the Assembly and repeat its last time performance in the Lok Sabha.”
Another BJD spokesman Sasmit Patra said, “Predictions made in exit polls on BJD’s performance were proved wrong in the past. In 2009, the exit polls had said that BJD would win 6 Lok Sabha seats while we got 14. Similarly, in 2014, they (exit polls) projected 14 seats for BJD, the party candidate won in 20 Lok Sabha segments.”
BJP state vice-president Pratap Sarangi said the exit polls have indicated substantial gain for the BJP both in the Lok Sabha and state assembly polls.
“The exit polls show a gain for the BJP in parliamentary seats. People have voted the BJP as they feel that only Narendra Modi government can protect the interest of the country,” Sarangi said claiming that the saffron party would form government in the state also.
Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Niranjan Patnaik, however, said: “Neither we accept or reject the exit poll predictions. Many times their (exit poll) predictions turned out to be wrong and at times correct. Therefore, it is not the exact poll results.”
Patnaik said his party will certainly perform better than the previous 2014 elections.
OPCC president who this time contested from two assembly segments – Ghasipura in Kenojhar district and Bhandaripokhari in Badrak district – claimed that he will win from the second seat. “Most of the anti-BJD government votes have gone in favour of BJP,” Patnaik said.
OPCC vice-president Arya Kumar Gyanendra, however, said that Congress will play a key role in government formation in the state as neither the BJD nor the BJP will get required numbers after declaration of results on May 23. The Congress will get around 30 seats in the Assembly, he claimed.