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Congress inching towards majority in hung assembly

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 11: Asom seems to be heading towards a hung Assembly, with the Congress likely to be the only party closest to garnering a majority, according to an exit poll conducted by a private television channel yesterday.

If the findings of the survey are translated in terms of seats, the Congress is likely to win between 52 and 60 seats, short of the majority mark of 64. The Congress is likely to lose more than 10 seats from its tally of 71 in the last elections. The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) is likely to improve its tally a little from the 20 seats it won last time to between 25 and 31 this time . The BJP is also likely to improve slightly and is estimated to end between 10 and 15 seats.

Even if the AGP and the BJP were to join hands, they are far from being able to form the government.

According to the poll, factors like a divided Opposition and a moderately positive record of being in power, has helped the Congress forge ahead of its rivals. However, a substantial drop in its popularity recently may just make the party fall short of the majority mark, the survey indicated.

The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has managed to recover from its split and staged a comeback, but not enough to give the Congress a jolt even if they were to forge an alliance with the BJP. According to the exit poll, carried out by the television channel this is likely to be one of the most fragmented electoral verdicts ever in the state.

The survey was conducted in 260 locations spread over 65 Assembly constituencies. A total of 6194 voters from the state were interviewed in this poll. A post-poll survey was conducted for the areas that went to polls on April 3, 2006. The constituencies of the second phase were covered with an exit poll.

The poll suggests that the Congress has established a clear, almost comfortable lead in the first round of elections held mainly in upper Asom and the Barak valley. But the indications from the second round of polling held in the constituencies of lower Asom suggest that the results are likely to be divided. Many constituencies have witnessed multi-polar contests that are very difficult to predict.

The Opposition and the smaller players are expected to gain a majority of seats in the second round of polls. This has stopped the Congress from getting a clear majority.

The Congress is expected to get about 31 per cent votes, a big loss of about 9 percentage points since the last Assembly elections.

The AGP is expected to add 1 point to its vote share to reach 22 per cent this time. The BJP's estimated vote share of about 11 per cent is a substantial decline from the votes it managed to get in the last Lok Sabha elections.

The breakaway Asom Gana Parishad (Progressive) led by Prafulla Kumar Mahanta appears to have made little impression on the voter and is likely to end with a miniscule share of votes.

UNI

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