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Opinion poll predicts change


NEW DELHI, Nov 14: An opinion poll commissioned by the magazine The Week, and conducted by the psephology agency `C-Voter', says that the overwhelming mood in Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh calls for a change in the November 25 elections.

While in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh the trend is quite emphatic, in Delhi even a marginal two to three per cent reverse swing against the Congress, could upset its chances of forming the Government.

Indecision in about a third of the respondents in Delhi, about the need for a change, is worrying the Congress.

The Congress' best hope, perhaps, for winning the predicted 38-42 seats against the Bharatiya Janata Party's 27-31, is that this same one-third will not want to vote in the present scenario.

The opinion poll (21,052 respondents) covered 79 Assembly segments in 40 Parliamentary areas of Madhya Pradesh, 52 in Rajasthan's 25 Parliamentary seats and 30 across Delhi. It was conducted during end-October and November.The Congress has an edge in Delhi and ismaking a comeback in Rajasthan, but is getting ousted in Madhya Pradesh. Here the Bharatiya Janata Party is getting the credit for the promise to form a Chattisgarh state, with more than 60 per cent of the voters in favour of a new state.

What seems to be helping the Congress in Rajasthan is the return of the rebels of 1993. This has upped the Index of Opposition Unity (IOU) compared with 1993 when independents, including rebels, won 22 seats, with 14 per cent of the vote share.

This time, the Congress is gaining from the votes which had gone in favour of its `rebel' candidates in 1993, while the BJP largely retains its vote share.

The expected seats and vote share of the major parties are:

  • Delhi: (total seats 70)-- Cong 38-42 (49 per cent); BJP 27-31 (44 per cent)

  • Rajasthan: (total seats 200)-- Cong 108-118 (48 per cent); BJP 77-87 (42 per cent)

  • Madhya Pradesh: Chattisgarh (total seats 88)-- Congress 18-22 (39 per cent); BJP 64-68 (49 per cent)

  • Rest of Madhya Pradesh:(total seats 232) -- Congress 74-80 (38 per cent); BJP 147-153 (45 per cent)

    Price rise is the main issue (Delhi 66 per cent; Rajasthan 64 per cent; MP 63 per cent), followed by electricity and water. Law and order, local corruption, Pokharan blasts and transport and roads are low on the voters' priority list.

    For the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, the elections may have a bearing on the Government, but more than half the respondents in Rajasthan and MP don't think these elections are a referendum on the BJP-led Government. They are emphatic that Vajpayee must not resign, if the BJP loses. However, in Delhi a third of the voters are undecided on this score.

    In Delhi, the preferred BJP leader for Chief Ministership is Sushma Swaraj followed by M L Khurana and Sahib Singh. In Madhya Pradesh, Digvijay Singh is the most preferred choice for Chief Ministership, irrespective of party affiliations, while the most preferred Bharatiya Janata Party leader is Sunder Lal Patwa. In Rajasthan, BhaironSingh Shekhawat still finds favour, while among the Congress leaders it's Ashok Gehlot.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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