Navjot Singh Sidhu, who joined the Congress days before the Punjab assembly elections, has junked exit poll predictions that say his party is in a neck and neck race with the Aam Aadmi Party for the number 1 spot in the state, where poll results will be announced today.
- Navjot Sidhu junks poll predictions that said Congress, AAP neck in neck
- Can't decide based on exit polls that have a 20,000 sample size: Sidhu
- He said AAP will get 40 seats and Akali-BJP won't get more than 10
"The ground reality is very different, for voters per seat above 1.5 lakh you can't decide on the basis of exit polls that have a 20,000 sample size," the cricketer turned politician said. He has predicted that Arvind Kejriwal's "AAP will get around 40 seats and the Akali-BJP won't get more than 10." The Congress he reckons will win the rest.
Punjab has 117 assembly seats. To form government a party needs to win 59 seats. Exit polls on Thursday predicted a big rout for the incumbent Akali Dal- BJP government and a close finish between the Congress and AAP, which makes its debut in assembly elections in the state.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of the Akali Dal, which has along with ally BJP, ruled Punjab for the last 10 years, too said the exit polls have got it wrong. He said his alliance would win 72 seats in the state to be re-elected for a third straight term.
Mr Sidhu, who quit the BJP after a decade in the party last year, was in talks for weeks with Mr Kejriwal, who is also Delhi Chief Minister, to join AAP. Those negotiations failed reportedly over Mr Sidhu's demand that he be projected as the party's presumptive Chief Minister.
He then held prolonged talks with the Congress before joining the party in a deal said to have been clinched by the Congress' Priyanka Gandhi, credited by her party with playing a bigger strategic role than before in these assembly elections. The Congress has also said that Priyanka Gandhi, the daughter of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, ensured the alliance with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh.
Counting of votes for both the Punjab and UP assembly elections, as also in three other states - Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa - will begin at 8 am on Saturday.