Expert Zone

Straight from the Specialists

Debating India’s election cheat sheets

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

As the sun set on the final phase of polling in India on May 12, newsrooms were waiting impatiently for 6.30 p.m. — the deadline set by the Election Commission for airing survey results on post-poll predictions.

Elaborate studio sets packed with guests and news anchors flanked by psephologists armed with data sets were all waiting to declare that Narendra Modi is coming to Delhi.

The 63-year-old prime ministerial nominee of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), perhaps one of the most revered and polarizing figures in India’s political history, was being given a unanimous verdict. Once the clock struck half past six, Indians were glued to their television screens.

“Abki Baar Modi Sarkar” (This time it’s a Modi government) — the slogan championed by the Modi campaign was being splashed across media platforms, but what stands out is the variation in tallies. The six sets of exit polls predict that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would manage the magic figure of 272 seats – the simple majority needed in the 543-member lower house of parliament to form a government — or at least get close to it.

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