India's Election: Exit Polls Suggest Shift to Opposition

With more than 800 million eligible voters, India's elections are the largest in human history. The final phase of voting ended on May 12, and the ballots will be counted May 16. The current minority coalition, the National Democratic Alliance, is expected to win the most seats, but may need key alliances to form a government.

Updated May 12, 2014

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The Incumbent's Current Majority

The left-leaning Indian National Congress (INC) has ruled India for all but 13 of the 67 years since the country's independence in 1947. After the 2004 elections, the INC formed the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)—a coalition of political parties that won the most seats in the lower house of the Parliament (Lok Sabha).

The Opposition

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition when it took power in 1998. The NDA ruled until the 2004 elections, in which it lost to the UPA. The coalition remained the minority after the 2009 elections as well, and currently holds about a quarter of the seats in the Lok Sabha.

Exit Polls Suggest Shift to Opposition

Exit polls suggest the BJP-led NDA will win a majority in the current elections. The party's candidate for prime minister, Narendra Modi, is a divisive figure who many opponents see as anti-Muslim. His supporters, however, see him as a pro-business leader who will restore investor confidence in India after a decade of rule by an alliance accused of corruption and mismanagement of the economy.

Key Parties in Tamil Nadu

The All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam parties are forecast to win up to 32 of the 39 seats in the state of Tamil Nadu. If the NDA fails to win a majority (more than 272 seats) in the election, an alliance with these parties could be crucial. Although these regional parties are former NDA members, they may not choose to rejoin.

The TMC Party in West Bengal

Another former NDA coalition member, the All India Trinamool Congress, is forecast to win as many as 24 of the 42 seats in the state of West Bengal. While Modi and the NDA may also need these seats to form a government, the allegiance of this regional party is as unpredictable as those in Tamil Nadu.

219/543 seats currently held by the INC-led United Progressive Alliance
133/543 seats currently held by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance
new NDA seats, according to exit polls
32/543 seats predicted to be won by the AIADMK and DMK of Tamil Nadu
24/543 seats predicted to be won by the AITC of West Bengal
Percentage of seats held by the UPA in each state
Percentage of seats held by the NDA in each state
Percentage of seats expected to be won by the NDA in each state
Sources: Indian Government, Indian Election Commission, ABP News-Nielsen Exit Poll 2014