BJP coalition to win majority: New poll
INDIA'S Hindu nationalist opposition party and its allies are on course to win an overall parliamentary majority in the world's biggest election currently underway, according to a new poll.
The survey by the NDTV network forecast that the opposition alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would win 275 seats in the 543-seat Lok Sabha, 16 more than predicted in the last survey a month ago.
The BJP, led by hardliner Narendra Modi, would win 226 seats but it would avoid the need to find new coalition partners after results are announced on May 16. Its existing allies would push it over the 50 per cent threshold, according to the survey released on Monday.
The centre-left Congress party, which leads the current coalition government, would see its tally of seats drop to an all-time low of 92, the same poll projected.
On Monday night, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, president of India's ruling Congress party, issued a rare direct appeal to the nation not to return an opposition that she said was motivated by "hatred and falsehood".
The three-minute TV address was aired at prime time on Hindi-language channels just as the poll results were released.
"Their vision, clouded with hatred and falsehood, their ideology, divisive and autocratic, will drive us to... ruination," the Italian-born widow of 1980s prime minister Rajiv Gandhi said in the broadcast.
The BJP dismissed the address as "a farewell speech given in desperation", driving home an advantage it has reaped from recent accounts by former government insiders that Mrs Gandhi had kept Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a tight leash.
"She wants to give power to the people but did not give power to the prime minister," Mr Prakash Javadekar, the BJP's national spokesman, said.
All previous polls have forecast that the BJP-led alliance known as the National Democratic Alliance would fall short of an overall majority - thus forcing the BJP to seek additional partners among a plethora of regional parties after the six-week voting marathon ends.
If the BJP-led alliance does fall short of a majority, it is widely expected to try and strike a deal with the West Bengal-based Trinamool party which is forecast to win 30 seats.
Another potential partner, a Tamil Nadu-based party led by former actress Jayalalithaa Jayaram, is slated to get 22 seats.