Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party today brushed off the exit poll results that predicted a poor showing for the party in Gujarat, claiming that exit polls "always favour the BJP". The party's senior leader Raghav Chadha told NDTV, is being "underestimated" and this, he added, is because "AAP voters are silent, they don't come out in exit polls", in contrast to the visible, voluble BJP supporter.
Exit polls have also predicted a sweep for AAP in the civic polls in Delhi. Mr Chadha said AAP will do better than predicted there as well.
"As somebody who is the co-incharge of the party in Gujarat, let me tell you we are going to do significantly better... for a party that is contesting in a state for the first time with all its might, a new entrant, it will forever be underestimated," Mr Chadha said.
In this context, he gave the example of Delhi in 2013, where the party -- predicted to win only four to five seats in its first ever election -- ended up winning 28 seats. "People could not gauge who our voters are... Aam Aadmi Party will get a significant voteshare and form the government in Gujarat," he said.
Exit polls have predicted that AAP will win between three and 21 seats -- the upper limit predicted by the Aak Tak-Axis My India. An aggregate of nine exit polls indicate that the party will get eight seats, despite its high voltage campaign that focused on the governance in Delhi and promise to replicate it in Gujarat.
Party chief Arvind Kejriwal has predicted that AAP will win over 90 seats in Gujarat, a chunk of them in Surat, the BJP bastion of diamond traders. In 2017, AAP had failed to open its account in Gujarat.
The party has even urged voters not to vote for the Congress, saying the Grand Old Party is "finished" in Gujarat.
"I am sure there will be a huge difference between the actual results and the exit polls especially in Gujarat," senior party leader Sanjay Singh told reporters.
"People of Gujarat want change from BJP's rule after 27 years," and the results will be "unpredictable" because of this, he said. "We must wait for December 8, when the exact results will be declared," he added.
The exit polls have predicted a record victory for the BJP in Gujarat -- one that could surpass its score of 2002 assembly elections, held shortly after the post-Godhra riots in the state.
The projections appear to substantiate the speculation that AAP's entry into Gujarat will eat into the votes of the Congress. Exit polls have predicted a poor showing for the Congress. An aggregate of nine exit polls indicate that the Congress may get only 38 seats, down from 77 in the 2017 elections.
The BJP, in contrast, could get 132 of the 182 assembly seats, up from 2017's 99 and the 128 seats it won in 2002.