BJP prepares return to power as exit polls predict clear win

NEW DELHI: Ruling BJP is to meet coalition partners to discuss a new government, two BJP sources said on Monday, after exit polls predicted a clear general election victory for the party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to the delight of Hindu groups.
The talks will be held today at the BJP’s headquarters in New Delhi and will be led by the party president, Amit Shah, one of the party sources said. The sources declined to be identified as they are not authorised to speak about the meeting.

Nalin Kohli, a spokesman for the BJP, declined to comment.
India’s seven-phase general election, billed as the world’s biggest democratic exercise, began on April 11 and ended on Sunday. Votes will be counted on Thursday and results are likely the same day.
Modi’s BJP-led NDA is projected to win anything between 339-365 seats in the 545-member lower house of parliament with the Congress-led opposition alliance getting only 77 to 108, an exit poll from India Today Axis showed on Sunday.
A party needs 272 seats to command a majority.
The predicted BJP margin of victory is bigger than opinion polls indicated in the run-up to the vote, when most surveys showed the NDA would be the largest alliance but would fall short of an overall majority.
Arun Jaitley, finance minister in the BJP government, said he was confident in the exit polls.
“When multiple exit polls convey the same message, the direction of the result broadly would be in consonance with the message,” Jaitley said in a blog post on Monday.
Stock markets and the rupee were sharply higher on expectation the business-friendly Modi would stay on at the helm.
The benchmark NSE share index closed up 3.8 per cent, its best single day since September 2013.
“I expect another 2-3 per cent rally in the market in the next three to four days based on the cue,” said Samrat Dasgupta, a fund manager at Esquire Capital Investment Advisors.
Congress spokesman Sanjay Jha cast doubt on the exit polls, saying on Twitter he believed they were wrong.
“If the exit poll figures are true then my dog is a nuclear scientist,” Jha said, adding he expected the next prime minister would come from outside the BJP alliance.
Predicting the results of an election with around 900 million voters is notoriously difficult.
In 2004, exit polls expected an NDA government, only to see a Congress-led alliance sweep to power when votes were counted days later. — Reuters