New Delhi: NDTV's latest opinion poll shows the BJP and its allies collecting 275 seats, three more than needed to form the government.
The BJP, led by prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, gets 226 seats, the party's strongest performance ever and a very long way from the two it had won in 1984.
With some canny late alliances like the one with the Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh, the BJP seems to have gained much ground in the penultimate lap of the general elections. (Read more) | (The Telangana forecast)
If this will be the BJP's best performance ever, its main rival the Congress, which has ruled straight for the last 10 years at the head of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) registers a low point in its history. The party has never gone below 100, this time it is likely to dip to 92, the NDTV opinion poll shows. (NDTV opinion poll: Uttar Pradesh's huge benefits for BJP)
Together with its allies, the Congress could touch a meagre 111, three short of it worst solo performance of 114 seats in 1999. (NDTV opinion poll: Karnataka to bring some cheer to Congress)
There is, however, one month and five phases of polling still to go before votes are counted on May 16, as all parties step up their campaigns in this crucial final leg of electioneering.
The BJP had so far been projected as heading towards being the single largest party, but with its national alliance falling short of the majority mark. It seems to have only got better for the BJP as elections have neared. (NDTV opinion poll: huge sweep for BJP in Rajasthan)
In NDTV's February opinion poll Mr Modi's party was projected to get 196 seats, its NDA 230; the March opinion poll showed 214 for the BJP and 259 for the NDA.
But 275 is tight when a two per cent margin of error is factored in into the opinion poll's predictions and the BJP will have to sustain the pitch of its campaign in the next few days.
The NDA crossing the magic 272 is heavily predicated on the BJP winning the 51 seats in UP that the latest opinion poll shows it winning.
If the alliance does not reach 272, it will have to seek more allies from among regional players like J Jayalalithaa, who is expected to win a tidy number of seats in Tamil Nadu, or even Mamata Banerjee, who is projected to get a lion's share of West Bengal's 42 seats.
Regional heavyweights like these are reportedly eyeing a bargaining position in government formation at the Centre. (NDTV opinion poll: BJP gains in Odisha)