A tracker poll conducted by Times Now television network and VMR shows that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) stands to gain 13 seats in the post-Balakot air strike compared to the projections of ruling coalition’s tally in the period before the Indian Air Force (IAF) dropped bombs on Jaish-e-Mohammed’s terror camp.
While the earlier poll conducted between February 5 and 21 gave 270 seats to NDA in the 543-member Lok Sabha, the estimate of its likely tally rose to 283 seats in the period between February 5 and March 12. In contrast, the seats of Congress and its allies came down from 152 to 135 in the corresponding period.
A party or coalition needs 272 seats in the lower house of the Indian Parliament to form the government.
Interestingly, while the Congress Party and its allies are projected to suffer losses in the post-Balakot strike period, the bloc of ‘Others’, a grouping of regional parties not aligned with BJP or Congress, could gain four seats — from 121 to 125. ‘Others’ include regional parties like Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC), Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) of Andhra Pradesh as well as the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal (SP-BSP-RLD) combine in Uttar Pradesh (UP).
However, the SP-BSP-RLD is projected to lose seats.
NDA is projected to gain in states like UP, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and West Bengal. The biggest gains for NDA since the pre-Balakot poll are from UP, where it is projected to gain three seats — and is expected to take its tally from 39 to 42 at the expense of SP-BSP-RLD, which is projected to go down from 39 to 36 seats.
UP has 80 seats and two of these are expected to go to the Congress. Ten of the 40 CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) troopers martyred in the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir were from UP, the state that accounts for the largest number of recruitments to the armed forces and paramilitary forces.
NDA is projected to gain two seats each in Madhya Pradesh (from 20 to 22) and Assam (from six to eight).
The ruling alliance is set to gain one seat each in West Bengal (from 10 to 11), Rajasthan (from 19 to 20), Maharashtra (from 38 to 39) and Bihar (from 26 to 27). However, the popularity of Prime Minister Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi have remained unchanged before the IAF strikes on Balakot and thereafter. In both the periods, 52% people surveyed said Modi had a better roadmap for the country while 27% rooted for Rahul.
The figures for another query on Rahul has remained unchanged in both the phases. While 43% of those surveyed think Rahul is a credible alternative in these elections, 39.7% feel the Congress president has remained the same and 17.3% have no opinion.
The total number of samples increased from 14,431 earlier to 16,931 in the post-Balakot strike period.