Modi Gujarat polls
Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to supporters on his way to the polling booth to cast his vote for the second phase of Gujarat Assembly elections, in Ahmedabad on Monday, December 5, 2022. Image Credit: ANI

Ahmedabad: India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to win a comfortable majority in Gujarat, exit polls showed on Monday, cementing the party’s fortunes ahead of national elections due in 2024.

The western industrial state is a bastion of the BJP, which has not lost state assembly elections there since 1995. Narendra Modi served as Gujarat’s chief minister for 13 years before becoming prime minister in 2014.

The BJP faced a tough battle in the days leading up to the polls against the main opposition, the Indian National Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which emerged in 2012 out of an anti-corruption movement.

The 137-year-old Congress party is expected to lose many of its seats while the AAP is expected to make some gains, exit polls show.

A projection by ABP-CVoter showed that the BJP would win 128 to 140 seats, which would give it a larger majority than in 2017, when it won 99 seats out of total 182.

The Congress is projected to win 31 to 43 seats, nearly half of the 77 seats it won in 2017, while the AAP is expected to gain three to 11 seats from zero, according to ABP-CVoter.

Results are due on Thursday.

Gujarat polls
Voters wait in a queue to cast their votes for the second phase of Gujarat Assembly elections, at a polling booth, in Aravalli on Monday, December 5, 2022. Image Credit: ANI

Broadcaster TV9 Gujarati’s exit poll projected 125 to 130 seats for the BJP, 40 to 50 seats for the Congress, and three to five seats for the AAP.

A projection by broadcaster News X - Jan Ki Baat showed 117 to 140 seats for BJP, 34 to 51 for the Congress and six to 13 for the AAP.

Himachal Pradesh

In a departure from electoral history, the incumbent ruling party BJP looks all set to remain in power in Himachal Pradesh for another five years.

This was revealed by an IANS analysis of ABP-CVoter Exit Poll with a sample size of 28,697 across 68 Assembly constituencoes in the state.

According to the analysis of exit poll numbers, the BJP looks likely to win between 33 and 41 seats in the 68-seat Assembly where the majority mark is 35. In contrast, the main opposition Congress appears likely to win between 24 and 32 seats.

If the numbers hold good, this will be the first time in decades that an incumbent regime will not be voted out after serving five years during an Assembly election.

Many political analysts were of the view that Himachal could be a low-hanging fruit for the Congress due to strong anti-incumbency sentiments. But in a replay of what happened in the 2022 Assembly elections in Uttarakhand, where the Congress failed to snatch the state from the BJP despite the immense popularity of Congress leader Harish Rawat, Himachal could prove to be a so near, yet so far phenomenon for the Congress.

For a while, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) appeared to mount a spirited challenge in the state and position itself as the real alternative to both BJP and Congress. But it diverted all its attention towards Gujarat. And the exit poll shows the effect of that.

AAP is projected to win no seats and garner a vote share of barely 2.1 per cent in Himachal.

The BJP vote share is projected to fall from 48.8 per cent in 2017 to 44.9 per cent now. Even the Congress is projected to lose some vote share, falling from 41.7 per cent in 2017 to 41.7 per cent this year.

- IANS inputs