An overwhelming victory of the TMC in West Bengal has thrown up major surprises in recent Indian politics. As far as the overall result is concerned, no exit poll barring a few done by lesser-known agencies could predict it.
The TMC has crossed the 200 mark, and at 6.30 in the afternoon was at 215 (out of 292), and BJP was at 75. The Left-Congress-ISF Morcha has got 2 seats (1 Congress and 1 ISF). It included leads, and the final tally may change.
The Left parties have failed, for the first time since independence, to open account in West Bengal Assembly. This decimation of the Left and Congress has been caused by its voters shifting to the TMC, and has resulted in a landslide victory of the TMC. Out of four important exit polls done by important national channels, two of which did predict this decimation and two of which did not. But three of them failed even to go close to the final result.
Republic-CNX gave TMC 128-138 seats, BJP 138-148 and the Morcha 11-21. In other words, it said TMC would not return to power. It is clear that they underestimated the TMC as they assumed the Morcha will do well and damage the TMC by splitting the Muslim vote. So they were wide off the mark. A similar mistake was done by Times Now-C Voter, though it predicted TMC’s return to power. It gave TMC 152-164 seats, BJP 109-121, and the Morcha 14-25.
Now two other surveys got it correct that the Morcha would be decimated. The closest prediction of Morcha’s tally of 2 was done by India Today-Axis. They predicted 0-2 seats for the Morcha, 130-156 for the TMC and 134-160 for the BJP. In other words, they foresaw a tie sort of result. However, Today’s Chanakya that gave the Morcha 0-8 seats came close to TMC’s tally. It predicted 169-191seats to the BJP and 97-119 to the BJP.
So, exit polls are exit polls. Take those seriously only at your risk.
(The author Diptendra Raychaudhuri is a senior journalist based in Kolkata. He has a wide range of experience in covering West Bengal politics and has authored several books)