India opposition could clinch election win: opinion polls

NEW DELHI Sat Apr 5, 2014 8:08am EDT

Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, prime ministerial candidate for main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Gujarat's chief minister, addresses his supporters during a rally ahead of the general election in Itanagar in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh March 31, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, prime ministerial candidate for main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Gujarat's chief minister, addresses his supporters during a rally ahead of the general election in Itanagar in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh March 31, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's main opposition party of prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi and its allies are set to emerge as the biggest group in an election beginning on Monday, heralding the end of a 10-year reign of the ruling party, two opinion polls showed.

In the last major poll, Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies are forecast to win 38 percent of votes, news channel CNN-IBN and Lokniti at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies said.

Another private news channel NDVT forecast a 32.9 percent vote share for the BJP and its alliance partners.

A BJP victory could have repercussions for Indian foreign policy. Aides of Modi, a Hindu nationalist, have said that if he becomes prime minister India will take a tougher line in territorial disputes with China and in its old rivalry with Pakistan.

The last phase of voting will end on May 12 and results are due on May 16.

The CNN-IBN and Lokniti poll gave 234 to 246 seats to the BJP combine -- the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), while NDTV has forecast 259 seats for the NDA.

The ruling Congress-led United Progress Alliance (UPA) is expected to win 28 percent of votes, entitling them to between 111 and 123 seats, according to the CNN-IBN and Lokniti poll. The NDTV survey gives Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's UPA 26.9 percent of votes, resulting in 123 seats in parliament.

The forecasts bring the NDA within striking distance of forming the next government by reaching the halfway mark of 272 in 543 parliamentary constituencies.

Both surveys covered more than 300 constituencies. While the NDTV poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percent, the CNN-IBN and Lokniti survey does not cite a margin of error for its results.

Modi, who has presided over rapid economic growth during more than 12 years as the chief minister of Gujarat state, has been wooing voters by pointing to his track record as a leader who cuts red tape and attracts investment.

Singh's government has been hampered by its economic record, particularly its failure to tackle rising prices and falling economic growth.

India's retail inflation has remained near 10 percent for the last three years, mainly driven by higher food prices. Growth has struggled at a decade-low of nearly 5 percent.

But Modi's image remains tarnished by communal riots in Gujarat 12 years ago when more than 1,000 people were killed, most of them Muslims.

(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Stephen Powell)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (6)
Jito wrote:
The Congress party has become a corrupt unimaginative and unaccountable mess. They have also not reacted appropriately to intrusions from China (Arunachal), Pakistan (Kashmir) and Sri Lanka (TN fishermen abduction). They must go.

Modi has a successful record of administration, progress and integrity in Gujarath which is why he was elected thrice there. When almost everyone else has been providing freebies to get votes, he has steadfastly said no to that. And he has delivered on promises such as uninterrupted electricity, clean roads, transport infrastructure and business friendly regulatory regime in Gujarath. He has Aldo proven adroit in dealing with narrow political interests that drive others within the BJP as well as other groups.

Apr 05, 2014 9:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
hardquestions wrote:
A subtle, albeit, evident shift from your anti-Hindu stance! But buried deep in the article you continue to label Modi a Hindu nationalist. Modi is a nationalist and happens to be Hindu in a majority HINDU nation. Get it?

Apr 05, 2014 11:06am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Evil wrote:
Modi’s development image is a farce. Gujarat is still a shantytown but he projects it as developed country. He is sold out to the big companies. Minorities will have a tough time under his rule.

Apr 05, 2014 7:47pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Pictures