India’s Polls put Congress ahead
Neither grouping was seen as getting close to the 272 seats required
to secure a parliamentary majority.
Exit polls have proved notoriously inaccurate in previous Indian
elections, and the official result will only be announced by the
Election Commission on Saturday.
Surveys carried by three news channels put the Congress-led coalition
ahead, with CNN-IBN predicting a final tally of between 185 and 205
seats, against 165 to 185 seats for the alliance led by the Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP).
A similar result was forecast by other networks.
Saturday’s count is expected to trigger a frantic round of political
horse-trading as both alliances scrabble among a multitude of regional
parties for the extra partners needed to form a viable government.
“Everything will depend on numbers,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
acknowledged at a press briefing this week.
After polls closed in the fifth and final phase of the month-long
ballot, the official turnout was calculated at 60 percent of the 714
million electorate — up slightly on 2004 figures. New Delhi, Thursday,