New Delhi, Dec 17: Exit polls by leading Television channels today projected firebrand Gujarat Chief Minister coming back to power with an absolute majority in the assembly elections, though with reduced numbers in comparison to the 2002 polls, having done remarkably well in the riot-hit northern part of the state.
While Star news gave him 103 seats, CNN-IBN put the figure between 92-100 seats and NDTV accorded him 90-110 seats in the 182-member House. The polls left no doubt that the Modi juggernaut continues its march and despite the vitriolic campaign by opposition parties against the Gujarat CM, he will be back in the ''hot seat''.
Star News-Nielsen poll showed that the BJP is likely to register a loss of 25 seats, while the Congress would get 76 which is 25 seats more than what it had got in the 2002 polls.
Out of the 95 seats in the riot-affected Central and north Gujarat, which went to the polls today, the BJP would get 55, the Congress 39 and others 1, the Star TV projections said.
The BJP would get 50 per cent of the vote cast, Star News said.
The Congress, according to NDTV Poll, is slated to get between 70 and 95 seats, up from the 51 figure in 2002. The BJP had procurred 127 seats in the 2002 Assembly polls.
Others, including independents, according to NDTV, would get seats ranging from 3 to 5 as compared to four in 2002.
The Congress is poised to get 77-85 seats as per the CNN-IBN poll.
Around 60 per cent turnout was recorded in the first phase of polling while a heavier turnout of about 63 to 65 per cent was recorded in the second and final phase of voting in the state.
After the first phase polling, both Star TV and Zee news had put BJP slightly ahead of Congress giving it 48 seats, while NDTV gave Congress 4 seats more than the BJP.
Counting of votes will take place on December 23.
In northern Gujarat, the BJP is slated to get 25-36 seats out of 49 seats, the NDTV Poll showed. In 2002, the BJP had 31 seats. The Congress is poised to bag 15-25 seats as compared to 17 in 2002. Others have been projected to catch in their kitty up to three seats in comparision to one seat in the previous election.
In central Gujarat, NDTV projected that the BJP would procure 23 to 35 seats out of 42 seats. In 2002, they secured 38 seats. Others, who drew a blank in the last elections, would get up to two seats.
The Congress is slated to get 10 to 20 seats in central Gujarat as against four seats in the last elections.
The CNN-IBN polls also brought out that 42 per cent of the Gujarati electorate want Modi back in power, 11 per cent are for Shankersinh Vaghela and 3 per cent throw their weight behind Keshubhai Patel.
The entire BJP campaign centred around the cult of Narendra Modi, with the Chief Minister addressing as many as 160 rallies, creating a record of sorts.
Many a central leader from both the BJP and the Congress canvassed for their respective parties, including Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and BJP prime ministerial candidate L K Advani.
The campaign generated much heat and dust and witnessed ugly trading of charges and counter-charges.