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 India's second-most electorally significant state Maharashtra where the battle is set between the BJP-Shiv Sena (NDA) alliance and the Congress-NCP (UPA) alliance for the 48 Lok Sabha seats up for grabs which polled in the first four phases of the Lok Sabha elections on April 11,18,23 and 29, here are the projections:
In terms of seats, the NDA is projected to win 34 seats, while the UPA is projected to win 14 seats.
NDA: 34 seats
UPA: 14 seats
As per CVoter, the NDA is projected to lead the pack garnering 42.6% of the votes. The UPA is projected to trail closely with 38.5% of the votes, while other parties are projected to garner 18.9% of the votes.
The NDA is projected to win 34-39 seats while the UPA is projected to win 8-12 seats with 'others' predicted to win a single seat. In further detail, BJP is predicted to win 21 seats, Shiv Sena is predicted to win 17 seats while Congress and NCP are predicted to win 3 seats and 6 seats respectively.
NDA: 34-39 (38) seats
UPA: 8-12 (9) seats
Others: 1 seat
In the 2014 General elections, Maharashtra had a voter turnout of 60.4% in all phases in which 41 seats were won by the NDA, while the NCP and Congress won 4 seats and 2 seats respectively. Meanwhile, in 2019, BJP is projected to lead in 19 seats and Shiv Sena is projected to lead in 15 seats while the UPA is projected to raise its numbers by Congress leading in 8 seats and NCP leading in 6 seats.
The last two Assembly elections (288 seats) are seen to follow an increasing trend for the NDA as it increased its win from 90 to 185 seats during the 2014 Modi wave. While the voter turnout had increased marginally in 2014 from 59.6% to 63.3%, the UPA faced a major loss as it diminished its seat share from 144 seats to 83 seats in 2014.
In 2019, Maharashtra has witnessed an average voter turnout of 61% in four poll phases.
Key battles in Maharashtra:
Nagpur: BJP's Nitin Gadkari faced Congress' Nana Patole who was once BJP's MP from Bhandar-Gondiya for the constituency in the first phase on April 11.
Solapur: This SC-reserved seat saw the triangular battle between the Congress' Sushil Kumar Shinde, BJP's Dr. Jaysiddheshwar Shivachaya Maharaj and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi's Prakash Ambedkar in the second phase. Congress faced a tough fight due to Ambedkar's entry into the poll fray thus dividing the anti-BJP votes.
Ahmednagar: BJP's Sujay Vikhe Patil, son of former Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil faced NCP MLA Sangram Jagtap and independent candidate SuvendraGandhi who is the son of sitting BJP MP Dilip Gandhi who was denied a ticket. The entire battle has become a prestige fight for the Vikh-Patil family and the Pawar family.
Ratnagiri: The coastal belt seat saw a battle between Shiv Sena's Vinayak Raut and Nilesh Rane who belongs to the Narayan Rane-led Maharashtra Swabhimaan Paksh and Congress' controversial candidate Navinchandra Bandivadekar. While Shiv Sena won in 2014, it is said to be on a backfoot due to job issues plaguing the fisherman community.
Recent political developments:
While initially BJP and Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena were at daggers over numerous issues, and their alliance, which has run for over two decades was speculated to be at an end despite the parties being in government at the Centre, the state, and also in the BMC, the parties settled for a seat share with BJP contesting from 25 and Shiv Sena from 23 seats.
The Congress faced a major shift in state leadership when former Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil quit the Congress after his son Sujay joined the BJP. NCP chief too had declared that he would not contest which has earned many jibes from PM Modi and Uddhav Thackrey as rumours of a rift in the Pawar family had emerged. The other development was that MNS chief Raj Thackrey too opt out of the contest while openly campaigning for the Congress.
Recently, Shiv Sena leader and Saamna editor, Sanjay Raut stirred a controversy demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban burqa across the country following Sri Lanka after the serial blasts which rocked the island nation on Easter Sunday.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena rival, NCP Chief too claimed that in a presentation while he cast his vote for NCP, the vote allegedly went to the lotus.
The state which is currently experiencing extreme drought had to wait till the conclusion of the polls for the Maharashtra government to begin work under the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) in the drought-affected areas after EC green flagged the move as the model code of conduct (MCC) was not applicable to drought-relief work.
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.