As soon as the numbers from the Exit Polls painted a dim picture of Congress rout in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, many liberals and journalists sympathetic of the Congress party jumped into the fray, underplaying the predictions made by the Exit Polls and trying to rescue their preferred political party by the dint of obfuscation and deflection.
Earlier NDTV journalist Ravish Kumar proceeded to discredit the Exit Poll results by casting doubts on the veracity of the data collected. Now, the former NDTV journalist Sunetra Choudhary, who felt excited on the rumours of PM Modi contracting swine flu, conjured up an unnamed ‘clued in Congress leader’ to insinuate that the Exit Polls are prematurely declaring Congress’ demise.
And here’s the Congress numbers (from a clued in leader)- 230- bjp, congress -160- Others- rest (150odd)- On BJP numbers they agree but is the Congress’ demise declared by exit polls too soon? #ElectionResults2019 https://t.co/yeIjiEHXMj
— sunetra choudhury (@sunetrac) May 20, 2019
According to this unnamed source within the Congress party, BJP is winning 230 seats while Congress alone is winning 160 seats. Apart from this, the unknown source also asserts that the regional parties combined will be able to secure 150 odd seats. It is noteworthy to mention that the regional parties also include Shiromani Akali Dal, Shiv Sena, JDU and other small regional parties which are part of the NDA coalition.
However, the bloated numbers showing Congress alone winning 160 seats is where lies the rub. According to even the most optimistic exit poll, the combined UPA tally stands at somewhere around 135(Discounting the Neta-NewsX numbers since it is under scanner for employing imperfect methods to arrive at the numbers). The Congress tally would be further diminished as these are the numbers for the UPA coalition. Perhaps, the unnamed source is either entirely disconnected with the reality or figment of Sunetra’s fertile imagination.
I chatted with a senior BJP leader who went state by state numbers with me and they are confident of gaining 230+ Reason, they are counting on the gain in Odisha (10+) and gains in WB (15+). UP acc to their estimate is down only by 20 seats #Electionsresults2019
— sunetra choudhury (@sunetrac) May 19, 2019
Sunetra also quotes a ‘clued in BJP leader’ who is confident of his party winning 230 seats. In case of the NDA alliance, the most conservative exit poll shows that they will win 267 seats(ABP poll). Thus, the NDA alliance which comprises of strong regional parties such as Shiv Sena and JDU would be in a comfortable position to stake a claim at the government even by the most conservative estimates. In a scenario where the NDA forms a government at the centre and Modi continues another term as PM, what is it if not the demise of the Congress?
The Exit Polls suggesting Congress’ demise are obliging their sympathisers to prepare for their funeral in advance. Meanwhile, Congress apologists can discredit the exit polls, cast aspersions on their procedures and methodology, conjure up unnamed ‘clued in leaders’ to salvage their favoured party’s fate but by doing so they are advertently or inadvertently flogging the dead horse.