Tamil Nadu, the state which everyone is watching keenly, is headed for a neck-and-neck result between the AIADMK and the DMK Front.
Narendra Modi seems set to better his past performance as BJP looks good to win decisively in Gujarat. The party will also benefit from an uneven vote distribution and is likely to win in Karnataka and in partnership with the JD(U), is set to sweep Bihar.
The Congress retains dominance in Andhra Pradesh and slips through in Orissa thanks to the split in the BJP-BJD alliance.
These are forecasts for some crucial states from an exit poll conducted by NDTV in General Elections 2009. The fieldwork was done by GfK-Mode and 71,500 people were surveyed across India.
On Wednesday, Dr Prannoy Roy and Dorab Sopariwala, along with a panel of experts, analysed the exit poll forecasts for 196 seats in six important states. They shall discuss the rest of the states over the next two days before counting of votes on Saturday, May 16.
Earlier on Wednesday, an estimated 62 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise in the fifth and final phase of polling in Lok Sabha elections, bringing down the curtain on the month-long democratic exercise, the longest in the world.
The day saw elections to 86 constituencies across nine states and two Union Territories, including all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu.
Counting will be held on May 16.
Of the 42 seats, the Congress-led UPA seems set to reaffirm its dominance and repeat its 2004 performance of grabbing a winning 29 seats. The Third Front, which includes the TDP, is projected to gain three seats taking its tally to 10, and the NDA may lose three seats down to two from five in 2004.
The NDA is set to sweep Bihar, winning 33 of the 40 seats. That is up a whopping 22 seats from its 2004 tally of 11. The UPA loses two of its three seats and the rest of the loss is borne by the new Lalu-Paswan Fourth Front combine which loses 21 seats to come crashing down to a mere five seats. A clear thumbs up for Nitish Kumar and his chief ministership.
From East to West. Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi did not just dramatically share stage to underscore BJP-JD(U) affection. They also share healthy wins in their respective states. In Gujarat, Narendra Modi is set to gain from his thin margin of 2004, and may add four seats to take his tally to 18. The UPA consequently would slide down four to eight.
The BJP-BJD split in Orissa is likely to help the Congress slip through to get just ahead of the Third Front, which includes Naveen Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal. The UPA looks likely to get 10 seats up seven from its 2004 tally, to nine for the Third Front, down two seats. The NDA loses five seats from its 2004 tally and comes down to two.
The NDA looks set to do surprisingly well in Karnataka thanks to uneven vote distribution. So, even though the Congress-led UPA may have the larger vote share, the BJP-led NDA is set to win most seats, 17 out of the 28. That is down one from its previous tally. A gain for the UPA, which takes up its tally to nine from eight last year.
In this state, where the Tamils in Sri Lanka issue has been hot, the alliances led by the two regional giants AIADMK and the DMK are set for a photo-finish. The DMK-led UPA is likely to see a significant six-seat loss down to 20 seats. And the AIADMK may gain five to take its tally to 18.
Overall picture so far:
Six states, 196 seats: The NDA had won 55 of these seats in 2004. It looks set to add 17 to take that tally to 72. The UPA had 81 of these and is likely to lose 4 to get 77 -- still ahead. The Third Front is likely to gain six in its new avatar to grab 39 of these seats and the Fourth Front may lose a huge 20 seats, with the combined tally dwindling to just six.
NDA: BJP, JD(U), SS, AFP, AKALI, RLD, INLD, NPF
UPA: CONG, NCP, DMK, TC, JMM, JKNC, RPI
Third Front: LEFT, BSP, AIADMK, TDP, BJD, TRS, PMK, JDS, MDMK
Fourth Front: RJD, LJP, SP, PRP