Exact Polls Trounce Exit Polls Bringing in NDA government with Crutches

Results: Exit versus Exact Polls:

The final results of the Indian elections are as follows:

NDA (BJP-led Alliance): 293 (with BJP 240)
INDIA (Congress-led Alliance): 232 (with Congress 99)
Others: 18
Total: 543

Contrast this with the fantasy exit polls India had this time around.

Exit polls for the results of Indian general elections 2024 of the mainstream leading television channels and survey agencies are as follows:

  • India Today- Axis My India -361-401
  • News 24-Today’s Chanakya -400
  • ABP News-C Voter – 353-383
  • Republic Bharat- P Marq -359
  • India News- D-Dyanamics -371
  • Republic Bharat- Matrize- 353-368
  • Dainik Bhaskar- 281-350
  • News Nation -342-378
  • TV 9 Bharatvarsh- Polstrat -342
  • Times Now-ETG – 358
  • India TV- CNX -362-392
  • Jan Ki Baat – 362-392


These are seats given to BJP led NDA all of which are much above the requisite 272 to form the government at the centre.

There is one lone voice of difference with a completely alternative numbers as follows:

DB Live-Elect Lime Figures (Desh Bandhu Live: popular YouTube Channel):

INDIA: 260-295; NDA: 215-245; Others: 28-48

Just this exit poll predicted a win for Congress led INDIA and BJP led NDA much below 272.

What’s Next?

All depends upon what the two allies of BJP ask for: Nitish Kumar of JDU and Chandrababu Naidu of Telegu Desam Party. One is Bihar CM and the other is slated to be the CM of Telengana after his thumping victory there.  The opposition INDIA alliance may also have offers for these two though however, the dominant thought is to have Modi government come with two political crutches and fumble or fall on its own.

Why These Results?

These results are significant because BJP has not got a simple majority of 272 for the first time under Narendra Modi’s stewardship, and because the opposition group has managed to muster up a reasonable number to be a strong voice inside the Lok Sabha. And this has happened in spite of unprecedented expenses in the elections by the world’s richest and largest political party, BJP, and in spite of two opposition Chief Ministers being in jail, main opposition party (Congress) having its accounts frozen, government probe agencies like CBI, ED etc let loose on many opposition parties and leaders, and dividing two opposition parties (Shiv Sena and NCP) in Maharashtra from the middle (both faring poorly in the election though, this time).

What Explains These Results?

Firstly, there was no overarching issue like the India Against Corruption movement and Achhey Din promise as in 2014 or Pulwama attack and the much-touted surgical strikes as in 2019. Even in spite of Pulwama and aggressive nationalism in public mind, NDA managed to get 353 seats (with 303 of BJP alone). While except Modi image there is no overarching reason for the ruling NDA in this election, the Opposition had caste-based census, legally binding Minimum Support Price of crops to farmers, among others as their common issues. In contrast, the talks on Mangalsutra, Congress to take away your buffaloes, Muslims as infiltrators, Modi being divine, or the world did not know Mahatma Gandhi before Richard Attenborough’s film on him: all of these by Modi himself actually brought down his image and sheen sharply.

Secondly, BJP in 2019 had 37.7% vote-share, and with allies it went up to 42%.  Congress had 19.66%, Samajwadi Party: 2.55%, Trinamool Congress: 4.1%, AAP: 0.9%, DMK: 2.3%, RJD: 2.1%. They are all in INDIA alliance, apart from the original segments of NCP and Shiv Sena, and also the Left, all together had close to 4.5%. The total of these is around 38%. Finally, even with a sweeping issue like the Pulwama, the vote share of the two alliances were 42% against 38%. Several NDA alliance partners have left (like Akalis), many have got divided (like Shiv Sena), and many partners have joined erstwhile Congress led UPA to become INDIA alliance of today. There was not even a semblance of a united fight by the opposition in 2019, while this time in 2024, a resolute and united opposition fought in all major states of India.

Uttar Pradesh:

The biggest upset for ruling BJP was in UP, with Ayodhya candidate, Maneka Gandhi, several union ministers etc biting the proverbial dust. The united electoral battle of Samajwadi Party and Congress has been showing immense potential in the last two months. Four times their rallies had to be cancelled due to much larger audiences than the available space. The differences between Modi-Shah and Yogi Adityanath are all very well known, and Yogi was muted this time in campaign. UP sealed the fate of BJP and denied it a simple majority in the Lok Sabha.


All the by-elections to Maharashtra Assembly that had happened after the break of Shiv Sena and NCP have been won by those opposed to NDA. The Mumbai electoral mood was so much against Eknath Shinde led break-away section and BJP for forcing the Uddhav Thackeray government to resign, that till this day, BMC does not have its elected body for more than two years and 24 municipalities in the state are without any elected representatives. The anger in Maharashtra is palpable, and the results prove that people emphatically denounced the forced fall of Uddhav Thackeray’s government by splitting is party, and also the split of NCP, since both splinter groups, parts of NDA, have been majorly rejected by the voters. Maharashtra has hugely backed Congress-Thackeray-Pawar combine. A change in state government is expected soon.

Farmers’ Movements:

The farmers’ movements for withdrawal of 3 farm bills and for MSP, that erupted after 2019, have seen more than 700 die, thousands arrested, and people in Haryana, Punjab and Western UP by and largely disillusioned with the ruling dispensation. AAP sweeping the Punjab assembly polls and winning in Chandigarh municipality are some evidences of this disillusionment. NDA washed out in Punjab, near wash-out in Western UP, and much reduced in Haryana are all primarily due to farmers’ discontent and disapproval of extreme high-handedness.

West Bengal:

BJP performed very well in West Bengal in 2019, winning in 18 constituencies, coming close second after TMC with 22. That led to their call for more than 200 seats in Bengal Assembly polls in 2021, which actually came out to be 77, of which many have resigned since then and loads of workers coming back to TMC. All by-elections and panchayat elections since then show that TMC has maintained its vote share and winning spree, and BJP declining, while the Left showing good revival. In 2019, it was actually 12% of Left vote that had gone to BJP as it was seen as a rising force against TMC. Now, in 2024, the Left-Congress combine as gone out full hog to muster up as much as anti-TMC votes as possible. In no way there could have been an anti-TMC consolidation behind BJP this time in Bengal. That TMC government has given financial largesse to the women of Bengal through Kanyashree, Lakshmir Bhandar etc, coupled with a total consolidation of Muslims behind TMC, ensured that TMC rules the roost in Bengal.

South India:

The exit polls give out of the way high seats to BJP in Kerala (where BJP has never won one nor come close), Tamil Nadu (where BJP has not won any as well), Telengana (where recently Congress state government has come to power with a strong majority), and in Karnataka (where recently BJP had a thrashing defeat with less than half Assembly seats than those of Congress). BJP has opened its account in Kerala with one seat, won none in TN, and has done reasonably well in Karnataka though. It is only in Andhra Pradesh that NDA alliance has done well due to an expected good show of Telegu Desam Party. Today, the next government is dependent on TDP for its survival and policies.

BJP’s Successes:

BJP has remarkably succeeded in Odisha due to anti-incumbency of Biju Janata Dal government there ruling for 4 terms, the outgoing Chief Minister’s total dependence on bureaucrat turned politician, a Tamil gentleman named Pandian, and due to the huge media and money push by BJP sensing a win. BJP has succeeded in Madhya Pradesh with 26 out of 26 seats fresh from a mega win in the state polls. Gujarat had been success barring one seat and Chattisgarh barring two seats. NDA has succeeded remarkably in Bihar too, astonishingly, as this in spite of a huge campaign by Tejaswi Yadav led RJD-Congress combine. JDU of Bihar is the other ally that BJP is now dependent on for the survival of the government. The Himalayan success of BJP in Himachal, Uttarakhand and the Northeast ensured it a decent total.

The Middle Class Growing Disenchantment:

With joblessness hitting half a century high, inflation being on a continuous high range since the pandemic, fuel price hike and rupee price free fall being there for the entire tenure of last five years of this government, no income tax relief to middle class, no real One Rank One Pension scheme or Old Pension scheme given to government employees, the middle class in urban India is no more in the adulatory mood as in 2019 in the backdrop of Pulwama attack.

Arithmetic of numbers (seats, percentage of votes, share of allies’ performances), chemistry among allies, spirit on ground: nothing showed a total sweep of BJP (unless of course if the elections or the counting are rigged or at least compromised in selected seats). The results reflect these factors. A few states and 25 seats with low margins have given BJP led NDA a third chance, but the last word on the Indian government formation and its functioning has not been spoken yet.

By Prof Ujjwal Anu Chowdhury

The author is a university professor of media and communication studies.