Almost all the exit polls on May 19 have predicted a clear lead for the BJP-led NDA (more than 300 seats) over Congress and other political groupings. While the Opposition has viewed the prediction with skepticism, various agencies and news channels have vouched for the findings.
A prominent news anchor even went to the extent of declaring on air that he would head for the Himalayas if the findings go wrong.
Amid such claims, let’s take a look at the previous exit polls and find out the accuracy of the findings.
The Modi wave in the 2014 polls was evident and that made the job of the agencies conducting the exit polls much easier. Most of them had predicted that the BJP would get between 272-290 seats and they were right. BJP won 282 seats.
Exit polls had also given Congress over 100 seats but its actual strength was reduced to an unimpressive 44, a record low since its inception.
The exit polls went wrong again in the case of Congress, restricting its tally to within 200 seats. Congress won 2016 seats. They had predicted that BJP would win 177-197 seats, while the party won only 159 seats.
Who would have missed out on the India Shining campaign of the BJP. Turns out, pollsters also got carried away, throwing all their calculations to the wind. They were rather generous to BJP and gave the party 250 seats and Atal Bihari Vajpayee another term in office. BJP managed to get only 189 seats.
On the other hand, Congress formed the government (with support from allies) by winning 222 seats. Pollsters had predicted some 191-216 seats for Congress.
The generosity prevailed in the 1999 general elections as well. The polls were being held within a gap of one year after AIADMK had pulled out of its support to the Vajpayee government.
Most exit polls had predicted more than 300 seats for NDA but it won 296 seats. Congress had won 134 seats while it was predicted to win over 140 seats.
Most of the exit polls of 1998 gave BJP somewhere between 214-238 seats. The party won 252.
The exit polls had said Congress would win somewhere around 155 seats but it won 166 seats.
(With inputs from newsbytes.com)