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 Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) which is currently under presidential rule after the BJP-PDP coalition state government fell, the battle is set between the NDA alliance, the UPA alliance which includes the Farooq Abdullah-led NC and the former BJP ally Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP for the 6 Lok Sabha seats up for grabs, which polled in the five phases of the Lok Sabha elections on April 11,18,23,29 and May 6.
In terms of seats, the NDA is predicted to win 3 seats, while the UPA is predicted to win 3 seats (all by the NC) and the PDP is projected to win no seat.
NDA: 3 seats
UPA: 3 seats
PDP: 0 seat
The NDA is projected to lead the pack garnering 41.9% of the votes. The UPA is projected to trail closely with 34.3% of the votes, while the PDP is projected to gain 16.5% of the votes and other parties are projected to garner 7.4% of the votes.
Jan ki Baat:
In terms of seats, the NDA is projected to win 1-2 seats, while the UPA is projected to win 3-4 seats, PDP is set to win 1 seat
NDA: 1-2 seats
UPA: 3-4 seats
PDP: 0-1 seat
In the 2014 General elections, J&K had a voter turnout of 49.5% in all phases, in which the BJP won 3 seats, while the PDP won 3 seats and the UPA won no seat.
The last two Assembly elections (87 seats) are seen to follow an increasing trend for the BJP as it increased its win from 11 to 25 seats during 2014 riding on the Modi wave. While the voter turnout had increased marginally in 2014 from 61.2% to 66.4%, the Congress diminished its foothold as its seat share fell from 17 seats to 12 seats in 2014 as the saffron party formed an unlikely alliance with PDP to form the government. This alliance fell in June 2018 due to the increasing discrimination in the two regions of the state, the PDP's unresponsive attitude to aid and the PDP's hindrance to development projects in J&K.
In 2019, J&K has witnessed an average voter turnout of 34% in its four poll phases.
Key battles in J&K:
Baramulla: A majorly rural population resides in this region which is the centre of terrorist attacks, violence by separatists, civil disobedience and protests. Here the BJP has fielded Mohammad Maqbool War to face PDP's Abdul Qayoom Wani, NC's Mohammad Akbar Lone and the Congress' Haji Farooq Ahmad Mir.
Anantnag: PDP's stronghold is home to major terror affected areas like Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag. Here the battle is between PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, BJP's Sofi Yousuf, NC's Hasnain Masoodi and the Congress' Ghulam Ahmad Mir. The constituency has also been very politically sensitive due to the killing of Burhan Wani. While many Kashmiri separatists have called for boycotting of polls, NC and PDP know that this favours the saffron party which has given free rein to the Indian Army pushing its agenda of nationalism.
Recent political developments:
The state has been under the scanner following the ghastly Pulwama attack, the issues of national security and BJP's stance of abrogating Article 370, which did not go down well with regional party leaders Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
After this former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah called for 'separate Prime Minister and President for J&K', Mufti went ahead to say that the state will gain 'freedom' from India and went on the make a contrast between India-Jammu and Kashmir relations with that of Israel-Palestine over the abolishment of Article 370 from the state.
Both Mufti and Abdullah have also been very vocal on many controversies surrounding the BJP like - Sadhvi Pragya, Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister's comments on airstrike and other issues, Kamal Haasan's controversial remarks among a few.
The Army has recently achieved success after it eliminated all terrorists of the JeM terrorists who were responsible for the Pulwama attack. It has also achieved success in killing terrorists from various local terror outfits in Pulwama, Shopian.
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.