With the completion of the seventh and final phase of voting on Sunday in seven states and one union territory of India, the polling in the all-important 2019 Lok Sabha polls - the largest exercise in democratic franchise anywhere in the world - has officially come to an end. With an estimated 900 million citizens voting in thousands of polling booths in every corner of the country, what remains now is the final vote-counting which will encapsulate the results of 39 days of voting and determine the composition of the 17th Lok Sabha, and onwards from there, the next government of India. However, before that moment of truth on May 23, the Republic Media Network has broadcast India's biggest exit poll - the mega double exit poll in collaboration with the country's top pollsters Jan Ki Baat and CVoter.
After conducting extensive on-ground surveys all across the country following each of the seven phases of the 2019 polls, the double Republic Exit Poll presents a projection of how the seat-shares and vote-shares could turn out for each of the states and union territories of India, and put together, project whether the BJP and NDA will be able to repeat their historic mandate of 2014 and conversely, whether the Congress, UPA will be able to make a fightback from reaching a historic low.
As per the projections by the Jan Ki Baat Exit Poll, National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is projected to clinch an estimated seat-share between 295 and 315 in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Out of this, the BJP is predicted to secure an estimated seat-share between 254 and 274, with the 264 median falling eight seats short of the half-way mark. In comparison, in 2014, the BJP had won 282 seats on its own.
The Jan Ki Baat exit poll further predicts that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-led by Congress is projected to a win between 122 and 125 seats, with Congress predicted to secure 71 to 74 of these. In 2014, the Congress had fared dismally winning just 44 seats.
The remaining non-NDA and non-UPA parties or 'Others' are projected to win 102-125 seats, out of which in the electorally critical state of Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party 'Mahagathbandhan' has been projected to win 21-32 seats (26).
Here are the numbers as per Jan Ki Baat projections:
In terms of vote-share, the NDA is projected to win 41.5% votes out of the BJP is projected to get 34.5% of the total vote-share. The UPA is projected to win 24.5% of the vote-share out of which Congress is projected to win 20.81% vote-share in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The non-NDA and non-UPA parties or 'Others' are projected to win a vote-share of 34%.
The median of Jan Ki Baat Exit Poll projects the BJP-led NDA alliance to secure the majority with an estimated 305 seat-share in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which is, however, 31 seats lower than NDA's victory number in the 2014 General Elections, which was an overwhelming 336 seats. The UPA-led by Congress is projected to lag far behind with an estimated median seat-share of 124.
Here are the state-wise projections of the Republic Media Network Double Exit Poll in collaboration with CVoter and Jan Ki Baat:
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, especially West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee 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 office, addressed a total of 144 rallies and roadshows this election season, Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressed 125 rallies in the 2019 polls with the elections also marking the entry of his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as an official member of the Congress.
There were controversies galore over the course of the polls, ranging from poll violence being witnessed in each of the 7 phases of voting in Bengal, to some shocking statements from leaders across parties, with the likes of Azam Khan, Yogi Adityanath, Maneka Gandhi and others being struck down on by the Election Commission, and others, like Sam Pitroda, Sadhvi Pragya and Kamal Haasan triggering mass outrage.
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.