NEW DELHI: A day after the exit polls unanimously predicted another term for the NDA, contrasting emotions were visible at both ruling and opposition camps with the BJP headquarters abuzz with preparations for results on May 23 and the Congress headquarters wearing a deserted look, devoid of excitement. Buoyed by the exit poll predictions, the BJP on Monday started preparations to celebrate the Lok Sabha election results in a grand manner at its headquarters in the national capital.
While several workers had been given offs because they had been slogging tirelessly during the seven-phase general election, preparations were in full swing for May 23, a BJP worker said. The party workers were busy overseeing the preparations for the D-Day and said the exit polls had underlined what they were always confident about. "Our entire focus had shifted to elections and the leaves of everyone were cancelled. We were working 24x7 during the election time and were confident that we will breach the 300 mark," said Jitendra Rawat of BJP's media cell.
Sameer Chhabra, a BJP worker from Punjab, who was in Delhi for some work, said he wanted to return to his hometown quickly as he wanted to celebrate with his people on May 23.
Krishan Chand Bansal, 63, another BJP worker who came in contact with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the age of six, said it does not matter whether the party wins or loses. "Our job is to work for the betterment of people and serve them. Now we have started working for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls," he said.
Meanwhile, the Congress headquarters wore a grim look with a handful of workers rejecting the forecast that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would return to power. The usual commotion at the Congress headquarters was missing on Monday morning, which party workers said was due to a "false atmosphere" created by the exit polls.
"We would definitely perform better. And if we don't, then manipulation of EVMs might have been done," said Ram Singh, a Congress worker.
He was joined by other party colleagues who concurred that there will be a tough fight between the two parties and the Congress' tally would be much better than it was in 2014, when the party had won just 44 seats.
Charan Kumar, another Congress worker, watched on TV BJP leaders' reaction to the exit polls. "It has been done to create an atmosphere in favour of Modi," he inferred.
But another party worker, Surya Tripathi, gave it a different spin.
"The Sensex climbed 900 points in one minute on Monday. That is not a joke. It (exit poll predicting an NDA victory) was done to benefit traders, who invest in the stock market and who also form the biggest vote base of Modi," he said.
Congress worker Jagdish Sharma alleged that the exit polls are an "attempt by the BJP" to spread rumours and they might try to manipulate EVMs after creating a pro-BJP atmosphere.
"We will perform better and win. It would not be one-sided as projected. We have seen the real atmosphere at the ground and no one is believing the exit polls, except for the BJP," Sharma said as workers surrounding him nodded in agreement. Rishi Vallabh, another party worker who has been with Congress since 1997, called the exit polls a "work of paid media".
Exit polls by Times Now-VMR, News 18-Ipsos, India Today-Axis and News 24-Chanakya projected 306, 336, 339-368 and 336-364 seats respectively for the NDA, with the BJP tipped to cross the majority on its own for another term after the 2014 polls. However, only two exit polls - one by ABP News-Nielsen and another by Neta-News X - said the ruling alliance may fall short of a majority. ABP News forecast 267 and NewsX 242 seats for the ruling NDA.