[Well, the exit polls got the winner right, but were wrong about the projected narrow margin. See my own comment below, at "propagation."]
In an election in one of India’s biggest states with major implications for the possibility of a snap federal election, exit polls point to the BJP holding on to the Gujarat assembly. The projection is for 105 seats for the BJP and around 70 for the Congress party. (As reported in the Economist.)
Real votes won’t be known till Sunday.
In the last election, in 2002, the BJP won 127 of 182 seats (almost 70%) on just under half the votes. Congress in 2002 won 51 seats on 39.3% of the vote. In addition to being one of the larger states, Gujarat is a bellwether because both major national parties are competitive there. This large a gain for Congress, if it holds in the official results, might make early election very tempting. All the more so given that the BJP win may have been just big enough to infuse new life into the bid by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, a highly divisive figure (to put it mildly), to challenge LK Advani for the BJP’s national party leadership.
Congress, which leads a minority pre-election coalition at the center, would like to rid itself of the problems it faces with its support parties in the Left Front, mainly over the latter’s refusal to back the US-India nuclear deal.