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Congress projected ahead in exit polls

The Congress-led UPA has been projected to have an edge over NDA and others in the Lok Sabha elections which are expected to produce a highly-fractured verdict, exit polls on television news channels show.

The results of the surveys, shown by the channels at the end of the fifth and final phase of polling in the month-long exercise, have placed the BJP-led NDA not very far behind the UPA and the Third Front at a little over 100 seats.

‘Headlines Today’ channel gave Congress and its allies 191 seats against 180 to BJP and its allies. The Left parties, which played a crucial role in the outgoing Lok Sabha with 60 seats, has been projected to get 38 while ‘Others’ including the BSP are set to get 134 in a House of 543.

In its projections, ‘India TV’ channel said UPA would get between 195 seats and it could go up to 227 if 32 seats of RJD, LJP and SP are added. The channel has given NDA 189 and the Third Front 113. ‘Others’ are projected to get 14 seats.

Exit polls had been way off the mark in 2004 Lok Sabha polls, with most of them projecting BJP-led NDA as the winner which did not turn out to be correct.

Ultimately, in 2004 elections the Congress and its pre-poll allies got 216 seats against a projection ranging from 170 to 205 seats. The BJP-led NDA had secured 187 seats against the projections of over 240 to 250 seats.

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