The exit polls have given Narendra Modi-led BJP a clear lead over the rest. The opposition, however, has dismissed them as “rumour”. What if the polls go wrong and the opposition stands vindicated.
Here’s a list of kingmakers — the regional leaders who could decide the fate of the nation for the coming five years. The popular mandate could well rest with them to decide whether to support an NDA-led government or go with the Mahagathbandhan being championed by Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
While Naveen has kept the cards close to his chest, the BJD president could well prove to be the deciding factor in government formation at the Centre. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has maintained a cordial relation with Naveen and had hailed his achievement in containing the death toll in severe cyclonic storm Fani, which had hit coastal Odisha after the elections. Naveen has also appreciated the Centre’s support. The exit polls have given the BJD between 10-15 MP seats.
K Chandrasekhar Rao:
KCR, the Chief Minister of Telangana, had tried to cobble up an alliance of regional groups not inclined to either the NDA or the UPA before elections but failed in his mission. The political landscape could be different after the election results are announced on May 23. KCR could end up playing a kingmaker in a changed scenario. Exit polls have given his TRS party about 13 out of 17 Lok Sabha seats.
Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy:
He is the man to watch out after the election results are announced. Almost all the polls have given his party YSR Congress a clear lead over rival Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP. Evidently, both the BJP and the Congress are trying to woo him. According to reports, BJP has already indicated its willingness to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh. Exit polls have given his party up to 20 of 25 seats in AP.
Mamata has thrown an open challenge to dethrone Narendra Modi out of power. Her objective, therefore, would be to stitch an alliance and possibly lead it in the event of BJP falling short of a majority. What could hamper her efforts is the results back home. Exit polls have predicted that her party TMC might lose a good number of seats to the BJP. As against 33 of the 42 seats it had won in the 2014 elections, exit polls said the tally might come down between 24-29 seats.
The BSP supremo joined hands with the SP to sweep the elections in Uttar Pradesh. But the exit polls have poured waters on such expectations. She had refused to join a meet of the opposition parties after the poll results came in. The exit polls are giving the SP-BSP alliance between 20 and 45 seats of the 80 parliamentary seats from UP.
M K Stalin:
Stalin’s DMK is widely expected to post impressive results in the elections, with exit polls suggesting the party in alliance with Congress winning as much as 29 of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu. He had openly endorsed Rahul Gandhi’s candidature for Prime Minister but some media reports have suggested that Stalin might be open to a post-poll pact with the BJP too. He could as well emerge as a deciding factor should BJP-led NDA falls short of the majority mark.