The survey predicted the NDA to get as much as 283 seats – 10 over the halfway mark – leaving the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance ( UPA) way behind with 135 seats. Other parties which include the SP-BSP-RLD and non aligned parties like the BJD, Telangana Rashtriya party and YSR Congress could end up with 125. The predicted tally for the NDA is 54 seats less than what it got in 2014.
An earlier Times Now-VMR poll in February – completed before India carried out air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakote as a response to the Pulwama terror attack on CRPF jawans- put the NDA seat share at 270, slightly of the majority mark.
The latest poll has predicted the Congress alliance and other non-BJP parties bettering their 2014 performance, but not by enough to deny Prime Minister Narendra Modi a second term in office.
In the big battleground state of Uttar Pradesh, the SP-BSP gatbandhan is estimated to get 36 of the 80 seats with 39.5% vote share, and reduce the BJP alliance’s share to 42 (43% ) from a previous high of 73 seats.
In Maharashtra, the BJP-Sena alliance tally could go down from 42 to 39(47.3%) while the Congress-NCP alliance could go up to 9 seats with 35.86% vote share.
In Bihar, the BJP-JD(U) alliance is projected to get 27 seats with 48.42 vote share, as against the Congress-RJD tally of 13 with 42.37 % vote share.
The survey has predicted big gains for the BJP in the other ’40 plus’ power state of West Bengal, giving it 11 seats with a 32.04% vote share, and the Trinamool Congress taking the remaining 31 with 38.96% votes. In 2011, the saffron party had just 2 seats with 16.8% votes.
In Tamil Nadu however, the AIADMK-BJP alliance is slated to get only 5 of the 30 seats, with the DMK-Congress alliance predicted to sweep the remaining. In Karnataka, the BJP and the Congress-JD(S) alliance is projected to split it 15-13. In neighbouring Kerala, the BJP is expected to win its first ever seat, in an otherwise 16-3 split between the Congress and Left fronts.
Jagan Reddy’s YSR Congress party is projected to get 22 of the seats in Andhra Pradesh, leaving just 3 to Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam. In Telangana, the TRS is looking set for 13 of the 17 seats.
The survey also predicted slightly reduced, but still impressive, returns for the BJP in Gujarat ( 24 seats), Madhya Pradesh ( 22), Rajasthan (20), Delhi (7) and Chhattisgarh(6).
The survey was carried out between February 5 – before the Pulwama terror attack on CRPF jawans – and March 13, which is well after India’s February 26 response in Balakote.
Narendra Modi still looked the favourite to continue as prime minister, with 52% of the respondents feeling he had a better roadmap for the country as against the 27% favouring his immediate rival, Rahul Gandhi. About 43% respondents felt that Gandhi had grown as a credible alternative, while 39.7% opposed it.
Most people felt felt jobs were the biggest issue of this poll. About 45.5% gave a clear thumbs down to the BJP on fulfilling its poll promises, but overall the respondents gave favourable ratings to the ruling party on income tax relief proposals and farm income support.
A total of 16931 of randomly selected voters in 810 unique locations across the country were surveyed by 567 researchers. Pattern recognition techniques, commonly used in Artificial Intelligence, were used to identify the locations. VMR put an error percentage of +/-3 on vote shares.