Change in Bengal, close fight in Kerala, Tamil Nadu: Exit polls

Election surveys by three television channels give a unanimous clean sweep for Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, predicting the end of the Communist rule, while they were divided on the outcome in Tamil Nadu, Assam and Kerala. Polls conducted during the polling in the states over the past month gave a two-thirds majority to the Trinamool Congress-Congress combine in the 294-seat West Bengal assembly.

In Kerala, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) is set to oust the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), three election surveys said Tuesday. The Congress-backed Jai Hind TV channel and a private agency predicted that the UDF will win 86-96 seats in the house of 140 and will get a vote share of 48.60 percent. They said the LDF would have to settle for 44-54 seats. Another survey, by Headlines Today, gave the UDF 85-92 seats and the Left 45-52 seats. But the Kerala-based Asianet TV channel said the UDF would bag only 72-82 seats and the Left 58-68 seats, the difference in vote share between the two alliances being one percent. Kerala went to the polls April 13. The vote count will take place Friday.

Tamil Nadu, two channels predicted, would be a close call. Headlines-ORG said the DMK-led alliance would bag between 115 and 130 seats in the 234-seat assembly, while the opposition AIADMK-led alliance may get between 105 and 120 seats, which would mean the DMK will return to power. But the CNN-IBN-The Week-CSDS poll said the AIADMK would bag between 120 and 132 seats to defeat the ruling DMK, which would poll between 102 and 114 seats.

In Assam, as the CNN-IBN-The Week post-poll survey shows, the ruling Congress has nothing to worry as the Tarun Gogoi-led government is set to perform an impressive hat-trick on May 13 by winning anything between 64 and 72 seats in the 126-member Assam assembly, while the Prafulla Kumar Mahanta-led AGP may win 16-22 seats, followed by AUDF (11-17) and BJP (7-11). What is even more significant is that Congress will perform even better than it did in the 2006 assembly elections. The survey says the Congress vote share this year will be 36%, better than the 2006 figure of 31%.