New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling alliance led by the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to win a majority in the parliament, as voting ends in the South Asian country’s marathon general elections.
Several exit polls released by Indian media on Sunday night saw a big win for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), predicting that it would win anywhere between 287 to 306 seats in the lower house of the parliament, or the Lok Sabha.
A party or coalition needs 272 seats in parliament to form a government.
One exit poll by Neta NewsX, however, forecasted Modi’s alliance falling 30 seats short of the majority mark.
The opposition Congress Party-led main opposition alliance, led by Rahul Gandhi, is projected to win between 128 and 132 seats.
Gandhi seemed to question the way the elections were conducted by the autonomous Election Commission.
“The EC used to be feared & respected. Not anymore,” he tweeted Sunday evening, without giving any details.
Voting in India’s national elections ended Sunday with the seventh and final phase of a grueling poll that lasted more than five weeks.
Exit polls, though, have a mixed record in a country with an electorate of 900 million people. Results will be announced on May 23, drawing to an end six weeks of voting and a long, bruising campaign.
Modi faced criticism early on in the campaign for failing to create jobs for the youth. But he turned the campaign into a fight for national security after tensions rose with Pakistan, and attacked the main opposition Congress Party for being allegedly soft on the country’s arch foe.
Modi’s popularity remains vast as many Indians credit him with programs that have helped the poor and cut through red tape and corruption.