#PollVault: Emboldened By Exit Polls, BJP Asks Kamal Nath Govt to Prove Majority

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New Delhi: A day after multiple exit polls predicted a comfortable majority for the Bharatiya Janata Parrt-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre, the BJP’s Madhya Pradesh leadership wrote to governor Anandiben Patel, seeking a special assembly session. The BJP claimed the Congress government, led by Kamal Nath, no longer has the numbers to rule the state.

Last December, the Congress defeated the 15-year-old BJP government, headed by Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The Congress has 114 legislators in the 230-member legislature. The Bahujan Samaj Party has two and the Samajwadi Party one. The BJP has 109 MLAs.

An aggregate of exit polls Sunday evening predicted that the BJP could win 24 of the 20 Lok Sabha in Madhya Pradesh. The Congress, on the other hand, is expected to win not more than five seats in the state.

Also read: BJP to Hold the Heartland, Steal the East and Cruise to Victory, Exit Polls Say

“We are sending a letter to the governor requesting an assembly session as there are a lot of issues… It (the Madhya Pradesh government) will fall on its own. I don’t believe in horse-trading but I feel its time has come and it will have to go soon,” Madhya Pradesh leader of opposition and BJP leader Gopal Bhargava was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Picking up the gauntlet, Congress chief minister Kamal Nath on Monday said he was ready to face a floor test in the assembly while the Congress accused the BJP of destabilising the government. “They [BJP] have been trying this since day one, I have proved majority at least four times in last five months,” Nath told ANI. “They want to do it again, we have no problem. They will try their best to disturb present government to save themselves from getting exposed. The government is ready for floor test.”

Adityanath sacks dissident minister after exit poll prediction

In a similar retaliatory move, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, sacked his cabinet minister O.P. Rajbhar. Heading the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party, Rajbhar has been openly critical of Adityanath for more than one year. Despite his willingness to quit the post, Adityanath had put up with the dissident minister till Sunday. He axed him only after exit poll numbers came.

“We welcome the decision. I quit in April but Yogi didn’t accept it. The speed with which you removed me, do work for backward castes with the same speed,” Rajbhar told reporters this morning.

Adityanath’s decision needs to be seen in light of the BJP’s earlier nervousness generated by reports of the SP-BSP alliance working well on the ground. Reports suggest the BJP, which in 2014 notched up 72 out of a total of 82 seats in UP, could end up with less than 50 seats this time. Varying in their UP tally, exit polls however have suggested the BJP could get anything between 22-65 seats.

With exit polls giving out varying state-level numbers, particularly on UP and Bengal, all eyes will be on these two states on May 23. If exit poll projections hold good, the BJP will be able to enter Bengal’s political arena in a major way.

BJP to meet coalition allies today, Naidu meets Mamata Banerjee

Unwilling, however, to leave anything to chance, BJP and its allies will hold a post-poll strategy meeting on Tuesday. In case, the NDA falls short of a majority, the BJP is looking towards Jagan Reddy (YSR Congress), an adversary of Chandrababu Naidu (TDP) and K.C. Chandrashekhar Rao (TRS), to bail them out.

On the other side, Chandrababu Naidu landed in Bengal on Monday to confer with the Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. Exit polls though  have pegged the NDA tally anywhere between 267 to 350 seats, likely to go beyond the halfway mark in the 272-member parliament. If these figures are correct, the non-BJP opposition will not have a role to play in government formation.

In 2014, the BJP won 282 seats and the NDA, 336 seats.

Both Naidu and Bannerjee have rubbished Sunday’s exit poll figures. “I don’t trust Exit Poll gossip. The game plan is to manipulate or replace thousands of EVMs through this gossip. I appeal to all Opposition parties to be united, strong and bold. We will fight this battle together, ”Banerjee tweeted. Naidu, for his part, said exit polls generally don’t tally.

“Had a good discussion prior to the announcement of Lok Sabha election results,” Naidu tweeted. “The Opposition stands united.”

Also read: The Reputation of the Election Commission Has Been Severely Tarnished

A section of opposition leaders will meet the Election Commission to talk about tallying paper trail of votes, or VVPATs, with electronic voting machine figures, reported PTI.

Unlike Naidu and Banerjee, BSP leader Mayawati chose a wait and watch policy till the results are announced on May 23. “The future course of action will be decided only after the final results are announced. Till then, she (Mayawati) will be staying put in the state capital,” a party source said, requesting anonymity. Akhilesh Yadav, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief drove to Mayawati’s residence Monday morning and held an hour-long meeting with her.

Meanwhile, after triggering a political row with her remark that Nathuram Godse, Gandhi’s assassin, was a patriot, Pragya Singh Thakur, BJP nominee from Bhopal, vowed to observe “maun vrat” or “three days of silence” till poll results are declared this Thursday.

In Surat, six Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha activists were arrested for celebrating Godse’s birth anniversary at the Suryamukhi Hanuman temple in Limbayat area.The event, according to a report in the Indian Express, was allegedly organised by Hiren Sumra alias Hiren Mashru, a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha who is also a priest at the temple. Around 15 youths attended it.

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