Nagpur: Exit polls predicting a comfortable win for the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in the state on Tuesday triggered an Opposition chorus alleging EVM tampering by the ruling parties. The Opposition even suspect manipulation by private parties to create a situation conducive to the ruling parties.
The revised voting figures put the polling in Vidarbha at 63.42%, slightly higher than around 62% recorded in 2014. Even a day after polling, the Gadchiroli district administration was unable to provide polling figures citing problems of collecting data from 34 far-flung booths.
The low turnout in urban centres like Nagpur, where chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s constituency of South West recorded 49.87% vote and Nagpur West polled only 49.22, saw political parties and candidates going into huddle with fears that NOTA votes could have much sinister impact than expected.
Functionaries of the parties on Tuesday were busy doing booth-wise calculations. But, both the BJP and the Congress which are in straight fight in city, struck to do their guns that their candidates would win no matter what exit polls predicted.
“The exit polls lack credibility. That is the reason pollsters shy away from giving constituency or booth wise-wise break-up of their predictions and instead jumble all seats in a district or division,” said Sachin Sawant, state Congress general secretary.
Raising serious doubts, Sawant asked how the exit poll could be allowed when people were still in queues at polling stations. “When exit polls results started coming in at 5pm, the voting process was on and those who reached stations were allowed to vote till much after 6pm. This clearly amounts to influencing voters,” said Sawant.
BJP spokesman Girish Vyas too objected to some exit poll agencies giving the BJP-Sena less than 200 of the 288 seats. “We are sure to win over 200. In Vidarbha, the BJP-Sena tally may go up to 55,” he said.
City Congress president and Nagpur West candidate Vikas Thakre said the resentment of the people against sitting MLAs in all city seats was bound to reflect in the results. “Otherwise people will lose faith in the democratic process of elections,” he added.
Despite the BJP oozing confidence, the political pundits were wondering if the two major controversial decisions of the party would have far-reaching impact on the results: Denial of tickets to Nitin Gadkari loyalists like Chandrashekhar Bawankule in Kamptee and, Vinod Tawde and a few others in Mumbai.
Congress’s Nagpur rural unit president Rajendra Mulak said the Bawankule factor would prove costly for the BJP as angry Teli community would turn its back on the BJP in at least 20 seats in Vidarbha. “The Congress-NCP combine is sure of winning at least three seats — Katol, Saoner and Umred in Nagpur district,” said Mulak.