Exit polls : Not the final verdict
Room for post poll pact ?
This is not the final verdict. At its most accurate it can be said to be a trend or an indication, but a trend which says that the BJP under Narendra Modi is still a potent force to reckon with, a point which not all political personality or a political party can boast of but nothing is final as yet. So all the more reason why the saffron party and its partners need not go overboard and why the Congress and those in the Opposition need not go into despair. The past also more than says that there have been many times when exit polls have gone totally off track. It was with a reason why the English edition of The Sangai Express deemed it opportune to belatedly pick an article from India Today and have it published as an article the same day that the story on the exit poll made it as the lead news. And India Today did not go wrong in pointing out how the exit poll went for a toss in the Bihar Assembly elections in 2015 when the NDA, without naming a Chief Ministerial candidate, was projected to win between 100 and 127 seats while the grand alliance of Nitish Kumar’s JD (U) and the RJD of Lalu Prasad was projected to win lesser number of seats. When counting day came, it was the grand alliance of JD (U) and RJD which romped home comfortably with 178 seats. As the article pointed out, the exit polls also flopped in 2004 when it projected that the NDA under the late Atal Behari Vajpayee would win anything between 230 and 275 seats but fell flat when it could bag just 185 seats and which saw the Congress come to power under the UPA banner. These are just two examples that come to mind to remind the people that exit polls can go horribly wrong.
This is however not to say that the exit polls of 2019 conducted by different agencies will go wrong. It can very well go right too but the interesting question is the margin of the ‘right‘ and the ‘wrong.’ Remember Delhi Assembly elections in 2015. All exit polls definitely said that the AAP had the edge but all gave them just the half way mark in the 70 member Assembly, but when the results came out the AAP received a massive mandate with 67 seats in its kitty. Just 48 hours to go for counting day and it would be juvenile and premature to draw a conclusion on the basis of the exit polls. This is a line which should not blow over the heads of the BJP and the many other organisations which back the right wing party. Coming to Manipur, it is the same, as everyone has to wait for May 23 to know the results and any celebration or thumping of one’s chest at this point of time would be premature and juvenile as well, something not to be expected from any political party which is hoping to represent the people of the State on the floor of the Lok Sabha. And when one talks about exit polls it should be noted that the Election Commission of India had a point when it prohibited the publication of any exit polls before the final round of voting for it had the potential to influence the voting pattern in the latter phase/s. In the same manner can’t the exit polls be taken to mean that it can also influence the different political parties to strike up post poll alliances, ahead of the result ? In such a scenario is the purpose of banning exit polls earlier really served ? A point worth pondering over.