After the heat and dust of elections, Assam is now bracing itself for a bout of exit poll results. Two exit polls have already predicted a hung assembly. But their views are diametrically opposite.
While the CNN-IBN-Hindu exit poll said Congress was ahead with a reduced number of seats, the C-Voter-Purobadaya predicted that the Asom Gana Parishad would pip the Congress, though not quite.
"I do not believe in any of these exit polls. In the past, some have gone completely wrong. I am not attaching any importance to them. Even I can gauge the mood of the people. How can one judge that with just 7000 samples," questioned Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
The mood in the AGP was similar. Dr Arun Sharma, an MP, brushing aside the results, claimed that his party would come to power. "I am not giving much credebility to the exit polls," he said.
However, the second rung leaders of both camps were tomtoming the exit polls results that favoured their parties. The Congress was happy with the CNN-IBN results while the AGP leadership went to town with the C-Voters result.
The psephology research group, C-Voter, which claimed that it had done the survey for a media organisation, said under normal conditions this could have provided a 'big anti-incumbency verdict', but by not contesting together, the AGP and the BJP have missed a golden opportunity of what could have been a total wipe-out of the Congress.
This was because the exit poll showed a historic plus 22 percent swing in favour of the Opposition parties, which is almost equally divided between the AGP and the BJP, it said in a release.
It said the two Opposition parties had also 'opened up a chance' for 'backdoor entry' to power for incumbent Tarun Gogoi of Congress.
"The Congress is headed to lose majority in the Assam Assembly and is hanging on to power by the skin of its teeth at the end of the just-concluded Assembly elections," it noted.
The CNN-IBN-Hindu exit poll, however, predicted that the ruling party is still likely to emerge the single largest party with a splintered Opposition failing to halt its return to power.
According to its projections, 52-60 seats are going to the Congress kitty while the seat share of the AGP, the main Opposition, has been pegged at 25-31. The BJP seems to be finishing a poor third with 10-15 seats.
In the outgoing House, the Congress had 71 seats against AGP's 20 and BJP's 8. Both the CPI and CPI-M had drawn a blank in 2001, while as many as 27 seats were with other parties and independents (19).
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