With polling in the world's largest democracy coming to an end on Sunday with the conclusion of the seventh and final round of voting in the general elections, 1.3 billion citizens of India including an estimated 900 million-strong electorate now await vote-counting on May 23 when the identities of 542 (the Vellore polls were countermanded) newly elected members to the lower house of India's Parliament will be revealed, and consequently, the process of forming the next government of India will enter its final stage. Ahead of what promises to be a thrilling May 23, Republic Media Network has broadcast the country's biggest exit poll - the double exit poll in collaboration with the nation's biggest pollsters Jan Ki Baat and CVoter - which presents a projection of what to expect on counting day, including granular projections from each of the states and union territories.
In Assam, the battle is set between the NDA alliance, the UPA alliance, the AlUDF and the BDF for the 14 Lok Sabha seats up for grabs, which polled in the first three phases of the Lok Sabha elections on April 11,18,23.
The NDA is projected to lead the pack garnering 40.2% of the votes. The UPA is projected to trail closely with 36% of the votes, while the AIUDF is projected to gain 4% of the votes and other parties are projected to garner 19.8% of the votes.
In terms of seats, the NDA is predicted to win 8 seats, while the UPA is predicted to win in 5 seats and the AIUDF is projected to win 1 seat.
NDA: 8 seats
UPA: 5 seats
AIUDF: 1 seat
JAN KI BAAT:
In terms of seats, the NDA is projected to win 7-8 seats, while the UPA is projected to win 3-4 seats, BDF is set to win 0-1 seat and others are set to win 1 seat
NDA: 7-8 seats
UPA: 3-4 seats
BDF: 0-1 seat
Others: 1 seat
In the 2014 General elections, Assam had a voter turnout of 79.9% in all phases, in which the NDA won 7 seats, while the UPA won 3 seats, the AIUDF won 3 seats and the others won 1 seat.
The last two Assembly elections (126 seats) are seen to follow an increasing trend for the NDA as it increased its win from 11 to 60 seats during 2016. While the voter turnout had increased considerably in 2016 from 75.9% to 83.9%, the UPA diminished its foothold as its seat share fell from 78 seats to 26 seats in 2016 as the saffron party focused more on local leadership and turned the anti-incumbency in its favour naming Sarbananda Sonowal as its chief ministerial candidate.
In 2019, Assam has witnessed an average voter turnout of 77% in its three poll phases.
Key battles in Assam:
Dibrugarh: Tea estate workers constitute a major part of the population here. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonawal's home constituency from 2004 to 2009, will see a battle between BJP's sitting MP Rameshwar Teli and Congress' Paban Singh Ghatowar who belongs to the tea tribe-community.
Gauhati: This semi-urban constituency which consists of the state capital Guwahati has a major Muslim population as well as a considerable SC/ST population. Here the battle is between BJP's Queen Oja and Congress' Bobbeeta Sharma. The anti-NRC agitation is a major concern for the BJP here due to its sizable minority population.
Tezpur: The rural population dominates this region with a major Gorkha population residing here. Whether BJP's #MainBhiChowkidar campaign will affect this particular community is to be seen as BJP's Pallab Lochan faces Congress' M G V K Bhaanu.
Recent political developments:
February saw major agitation in Assam opposing the BJP's amendment to the Citizenship Bill (2016) which granted Indian citizenship by naturalisation to communities such as Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Sikhs, fleeing persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Citizenship would be granted to those who have lived in India for six or more years. While the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha triggering huge protests throughout the north-east region, the bill expired in the Rajya Sabha where the BJP does not hold the required numbers.
On a national scale:
The 2019 elections saw high-octane electric campaigning from both sides as the BJP went hammer and tongs, expressing confidence at each turn that it would not only repeat but also better its tally of 282 votes from five years earlier, whereas the Congress and other Opposition parties, also campaigned heavily though without being able to make any convincing show of unity. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking a second term in the Parliament, addressed a total of 144 rallies and roadshows this election season, Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressed 125 rallies in the 2019 polls.
A number of Republic Media Network newsbreaks especially set the agenda for the polls, including the first interview of the Prime Minister's election campaign to Republic's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami and his final campaign interview to Executive Editor Abhishek Kapoor. Alongside these were the sensational #MPsOnSale sting on sitting MPs who showed themselves willing to compromise the interests of those whom they claim to represent, the Operation Karz Maafi sting that exposed the falsehood in the Congress' farm loan-waiver promise, and numerous others.
The vote counting for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls will be held on May 23. Join Arnab on Republic Media Network for non-stop coverage of the sensational conclusion to the general elections here.