Modi set to return to power: Exit polls

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With most exit polls forecasting another term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP nearly sweeping Karnataka in the Lok Sabha polls, chief minister H D Kumaraswamy Monday expressed concerns over the vulnerability of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Votes are set to be counted on May 23 and exit polls suggest a better showing for the NDA than what was expected in recent weeks.

The India Today-Axis My India poll gave a broad range for the BJP (21 to 25 seats) and between three and six seats for Congress, and one for others.

What are the exit polls saying?

Four exit polls predict that the BJP-led alliance will get between 280 and 315 seats, which is far more than the Congress Party is expected to win.

Global media, which closely followed the mega electoral battle, was abuzz with the pollsters' prediction of PM Narendra Modi getting a second term.

India electionWhat has the reaction been?

The great outcome that makes Modi - Shah duo a juggernaut, is about West Bengal, where BJP has the probability to win around five seats in the state where BJP has no MP in the last elections.

State BJP chief B.S. Yeddyurappa has been waiting for this opportunity ever since he lost his chief ministerial seat despite BJP being the single-largest party in the assembly polls in 2018.

Current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who won a landslide victory in 2014, is now facing a rival in the form of Rahul Gandhi and his Congress Party.

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Indian voters queue to cast their votes in the Ghoramara island around 110 km south of Kolkata on May 19, 2019, during the 7th and final phase of India's general election.

Prodeep Chakrabarty, a retired teacher in Kolkata, said Modi's BJP was desperate to win some seats against Banerjee's influential regional party.

Hostilities spilt over again on the final day of voting.

Minorities in India, especially Muslims, who comprise about 14 per cent of the country's 1.3 billion people, criticize Modi for his Hindu nationalist agenda. With 900 million eligible voters, it is the world's biggest exercise in democracy.

But Modi rallied his Hindu nationalist base and made national security a central theme of the campaign after a surge in tension with Pakistan in February following a suicide bomb attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir by Pakistan based militants.

Modi's government has fallen short on creating jobs for the million Indians entering the labour market every month, the shock introduction of a cash ban in 2016, while Indian banks are struggling with huge bad debts.

Pre-election media polls indicate that no party is likely to win anything close to a majority in Parliament, which has 543 seats.

A clear win would mean Modi can carry out reforms investors expect to make India an easier place for doing business, they said.

Speculation is rife in the political circles that any adverse results for the Congress-JD (S) alliance in the polls will have its implications on the longevity of the Kumaraswamy-led government in Karnataka.

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