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After PM’s South Push, NDA May Get Up To 5 Seats In Tamil Nadu: Exit Polls

New Delhi:

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance could win as many as seven Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu – a state in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party has struggled in recent centre and state elections – exit polls said Saturday evening, after voting finished for the seventh and final phase.

The most optimistic prediction for the BJP’s coalition comes from India TV-CNX – which gives it between five and seven seats. The India Today-Axis My India exit poll predicts two to four seats.

The Jan Ki Baat exit poll gives the alliance five seats. Three other exit polls – ABP News-C Voter, India News-D Dynamic, and TV9 Bharatvarsh-Polstrat – also have the NDA winning at least one seat.

A health warning: Exit polls often get it wrong.

News Nation gives the NDA two seats and Republic Bharat-Matrize just one.

It is important to note, though, the exit polls give seats to the NDA and not the BJP, which has only won one seat in the past two elections; in 2014 Pon Radhakrishnan won the Kanniyakumari seat.

In the 2019 election the BJP had allied with the AIADMK but the two were thumped by the DMK-Congress combine that claimed 38 of the state’s 39 seats; the hold-out was Theni, near Madurai, which was won by the AIADMK’s P Ravindhranath. The BJP contested only five seats in that election.

This time the national party – sans its Dravidian ally after a row over the BJP state boss, K Annamalai, trash-talking AIADMK icons J Jayalalithaa and MG Ramachandran – fielded candidates in 23 seats.

READ | “Will Take On DMK”: Tamil Nadu BJP Chief On AIADMK Split

The BJP has also allied with nine regional Tamil parties, the most high-profile of which is S Ramadoss’ Pattali Makkal Katchi. The PMK has contested 10 seats; it fought seven last time (as part of the NDA grouping) but failed to open its account; the party did win one seat – Dharmapuri – in the 2014 poll.

Other NDA members in Tamil Nadu this election include the Tamil Maanila Congress and the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam of TTV Dhinakaran, which fought three and two seats, respectively.

Neither the TMC nor the AMMK won a seat in the last election, and did not contest in 2014.

Former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam is also with the NDA; the ex-senior AIADMK leader is contesting the Ramanathapuram seat an independent candidate with the BJP’s backing.

The results – if they hold – will be a big boost for Mr Modi’s party in the state, even if it doesn’t win anything on its own. The Prime Minister has focused heavily on Tamil Nadu this campaign season, making nearly a dozen visits to the state since election dates were announced.

NDTV Exclusive | “PM’s Popularity… Our Best Showing In South”: Amit Shah

The BJP has exuded confidence that the Prime Minister’s big South push will translate into votes, even in states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which have not been happy hunting grounds in the past.

READ | “Huge Victory”: Amit Shah’s Big Claim On BJP’s ‘Mission South’

The PM returned to the state this week – to meditate at Kanniyakumari’s Vivekananda Rock.

READ | PM Meditates At Vivekananda Rock Memorial. See Pics, Video

The focus on Tamil Nadu – and the larger focus on southern states like Kerala, where too the BJP has struggled badly – comes as the party attempts to reach its ambitious ‘abki baar, 400 paar‘ target.

To achieve its 400-seat goal (this will include seats won by alliance partners), the BJP will need significantly improved performances in Tamil Nadu and other states where they failed to win big.

NDTV Exclusive | How Many Lok Sabha Seats Will BJP Win In South India?

Across the fence the Congress-led INDIA bloc, which counts the state’s ruling DMK as a member, is predicted to win the majority of the seats, with the lowest return of 22-26 from India TV-CNX.

ABP News-C Voter gives INDIA 37-39 seats. India Today-Axis My India 33 to 37. India News-D Dynamics expects it to get 28, Jan Ki Baat 34-38, and TV9 Bharatvarsh-Polstrat has given it 35.

News Nation, Republic Bharat-Matrize, and Republic TV-P Marq have given the Congress-DMK bloc a similarly massive return – 36, 37, and 38 seats, respectively.

NDTV Battleground Tamil Nadu | Sans Big Allies, Can ‘Modi Wave’ Work?

The AIADMK, contesting on its, own, is expected to continue to struggle for relevance after thumping defeats to the DMK-Congress alliance in recent elections.

The best news comes from India News-D Dynamics, which expects it to win five seats, while the India Today-Axis My India and India TV-CNX exit polls give it between one and two seats.

The other exit polls give the party zero seats.

Hat-Trick For PM Modi, BJP In Lok Sabha Election

Overall the BJP has been tipped to register a big win and deliver a third consecutive term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The saffron party, however, is likely to fall short of its ambitious targets – 370+ for itself and over 400 (‘abki baar, 400 paar’ was the slogan) with support from its allies.

READ | Modi Hat-Trick, Powered By South, Bengal, Odisha: Exit Polls

The opposition INDIA bloc – formed last year, in Mumbai, in fact, to halt the BJP and its election-winning machinery – has been handed a stern reality check. Five major exit polls say the group will fall well short of the 285 seats predicted by Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge to NDTV this week.

An aggregate of exit polls suggests the NDA will get 367 seats and INDIA 143. Individually, the BJP will get 327 – 24 more than the 2019 – and the Congress 52, which is how much it got last time.

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