Narendra Modi’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies will win a majority in Indian elections concluding May 16, an opinion poll showed for the first time.
The BJP and its partners may take 275 of 543 parliamentary seats up for grabs, three more than they need for a majority, according to a Hansa Research survey for the NDTV channel released yesterday. Modi’s party alone will win 226 seats, its strongest-ever performance, the poll said.
The ruling Congress party will win 92 seats, its lowest-ever tally, and the coalition it leads will take 111 seats, according to the poll, which surveyed 24,000 people nationwide one to three days before voting began on April 7. It had a margin of error of 2 percent.
Previous polls have shown the BJP and its allies winning the most seats while falling short of the 272 needed for a majority. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s administration, in power since 2004, has seen its popularity dip as it oversaw the slowest growth in a decade and Asia’s second-highest inflation while expanding subsidies for the poor.
The BJP and its partners, which call themselves the National Democratic Alliance, were projected to win 16 seats more than the same poll predicted last month. The survey didn’t provide a breakdown of how many seats each member of the NDA would win.
The world’s biggest-ever election began on April 7 and will end on May 12 after nine phases of voting. Counting will take place on May 16.
The survey predicted the BJP would win more than 50 of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh, India’s biggest state, compared with 10 in the 2009 election. The party is also poised to make gains in states including Rajasthan, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, the poll showed.
If the BJP-led alliance doesn’t pass the 272 mark, it will need to find other parties to form a government. J. Jayalalithaa’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which rules the southern state of Tamil Nadu, may win 22 of 39 seats, the survey said.
The outcome of the polls can provide an insight into political stability and the government’s ability and willingness to overhaul policy and boost economic growth, Standard & Poor’s said in a statement today. The elections and subsequent policy actions could decide if the sovereign rating remains investment grade, the company said.
“We believe that the current political landscape in India suggests that no single party could win an outright majority,” said S&P analyst Kim Eng Tan. “The more parties involved in the next coalition government, the more likely policies will be incoherent and less supportive of credit attributes.”
Modi, 63, is promoting his image as a magnet for investment and a record of stronger-than-average growth in the state of Gujarat he’s ruled since 2001. The BJP in its manifesto has promised to ease consumer-price gains and expedite foreign investment in most sectors except for multibrand retail.
Rahul Gandhi, 43, is leading the Congress campaign with a message that highlights the government’s record of spending on programs ranging from cheap food to guaranteed work in rural areas. The party has promised poorer voters rights to health care and housing in its manifesto, while pledging to restore growth in Asia’s third-biggest economy to more than 8 percent within three years.