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Exit polls: NDA seen winning 261 to 289 seats

LiveMint logoLiveMint 12-05-2014 Shyamantha Asokan

New Delhi: India’s main opposition coalition, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by Narendra Modi is poised to win the most seats in a national election, two exit polls showed after voting ended on Monday in the six-week vote.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies will win 261 to 289 seats, according to two exit polls released on Monday, with 272 needed for a majority. The Congress party and its allies, in power for the past decade, are projected to win 101 to 120 seats. Results will be announced on 16 May.

The polls, which have overestimated the BJP’s strength in the past two national elections, could lead to further gains in Indian stocks and the rupee as investors bet that Modi will revive growth in Asia’s third biggest economy. The tally indicates the best-ever performance for the bloc led by the BJP, a party rooted in Hindu nationalism that has pledged to reduce one of Asia’s fastest inflation rates and expedite foreign investment.

If the BJP and allies win more than 220 seats then Modi will be India’s next prime minister, said A.K. Verma, a political analyst at Christ Church College in Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most-populous state.

Nine rounds of voting started on 7 April to pick 543 parliamentary seats in the world’s second-most populous country. Turnout averaged a record 66.4%, the Election Commission of India said on Monday, compared with 58% in the 2009 election and the previous high of 64% in the 1984 vote.

Poll accuracy

The BJP and its allies are forecast to win 289 seats, compared with 101 for the Congress group, Bloomberg TV India reported, citing a C-Voter exit poll. The BJP bloc would win 261 to 283 seats, according to an India Today exit poll, while the Congress-led alliance would win 110 to 120 seats. No margin of error was given for either poll.

In the last two elections, exit polls have overestimated the strength of the BJP and its allies—by about 30 seats in 2009 and as many as 70 seats in 2004. Congress’s surprise win to take power a decade ago led to the biggest one-day sell-off of stocks in more than four years, while its re-election in 2009 boosted the stock market by a record 17% in the next trading day.

Indian stocks may fall if the BJP-led alliance wins fewer than 230 parliamentary seats, according to a Bloomberg News survey of 19 brokerages and investment advisory firms. Indian stocks rallied on Monday, sending the benchmark index to a record, and the rupee rose to a nine-month high amid speculation exit- poll results may show a BJP victory. Bloomberg

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