Congress state leaders confident of better returns for party than projected in exit polls

Slamming the exit polls, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the exit polls were "completely bogus" and a "deliberate attempt" to justify rigging of the elections

A Congress party rally (photo: National Herald archives)
A Congress party rally (photo: National Herald archives)


Congress leaders from some politically crucial states on Sunday exuded confidence that the party will do much better than what was projected in the exit polls and asserted the INDIA bloc is going to form the next government.

Leaders from states such as Karnataka, Maharashtra, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Jharkhand, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Gujarat stressed that the Congress' performance would be very good, belying all the predictions in the exit polls.

The assertion was made at an online interaction Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh had before the media with key state leaders, Pradesh Congress Committee presidents and legislature party leaders of various states.

During his Zoom call with Ramesh, Assam Congress chief Bhupen Borah said his party would win at least seven Lok Sabha seats in the state. He said that alleged internal squabbling in the BJP and the impact of the INDIA bloc's unity would ensure a good performance of the Congress in Assam.

The state sends 14 members to the Lower House of Parliament.

Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Partap Singh Bajwa said all the surveys have given seven to nine seats to the Congress.

"We are ahead on nine seats, one seat will go to the AAP and three seats will be won by the candidates who will not in any way help the NDA or the PM. The INDIA bloc will get a minimum of 10 seats...In Punjab, the NDA is not going to get even a single seat," he said. There are 13 parliamentary constituency in the state.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said the Congress has an edge on two parliamentary seats and is in a tight contest on the two other seats in the hill state. He exuded confidence that the Congress was also winning the six assembly seats where the bypolls have taken place.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar said the Congress would win at least two-third of the 28 seats on the back of the popularity of the guarantees the party fulfilled after coming to power in the state.

Bihar Congress chief Akhilesh Prasad Singh said his party would definitely win six to seven seats out of the nine seats it contested in the state.

He said the INDIA bloc together would win around 20 out of the 40 seats in Bihar.

Jharkhand Congress chief Rajesh Thakur claimed the INDIA bloc will get eight to ten seats out of the 14 in the state.

Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole said the party will win 16 seats and the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance will get 38-40 seats out of the 48 in the state. People are fighting the elections against the BJP in these polls, Patole said.

Rajasthan Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra said the party would win at least 12-13 seats in the state.

He said there was tough fight in the remaining seats in Rajasthan -- that has a total of 25 parliamentary constituencies.

During the online interaction, Gujarat Congress president Shaktisinh Gohil said the party has fought strongly in the state.

The Congress will win four to five seats in Gujarat and there was tough competition on about 12 seats he said. Gujarat has a total of 26 Lok Sabha seats.

These exit polls are an attempt to mislead the people and create pressure on counting agents, he claimed.

Haryana Congress president Udai Bhan said the Congress would win at least eight of the 10 seats in Haryana.

Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajai Rai also spoke during the interaction and exuded confidence of a much better performance in his state than the projections made in the exit polls. Uttar Pradesh has 80 seats and the Congress, which fought the polls in alliance with the Samajwadi Party, contested on 17 seats.

The unusual interaction before the media came a day after the exit polls on Saturday predicted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will retain power for a third straight term, with the BJP-led NDA expected to win a big majority in the Lok Sabha elections.

While India Today-Axis My India has forecast 361-401 seats for the BJP-led alliance and 131-166 seats for the opposition INDIA bloc in the 543-member Lok Sabha, the ABP-C Voter predicted 353-383 seats for the ruling alliance and 152-182 seats for the INDIA bloc.

All the state leaders, who spoke at the virtual interaction, debunked the exit polls as part of a psychological game being played by the BJP to "reduce the morale of the Congress workers".

Slamming the exit polls, Ramesh said the exit polls were "completely bogus" and a "deliberate attempt" to justify rigging of the elections.

He said they were part of "psychological games" being played by Prime Minister Modi to lower the morale of the INDIA bloc workers.

The results of the Lok Sabha elections will be declared on June 4.

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