New Delhi: As the polling for phase 7 of the Lok Sabha elections is about to conclude on Sunday, news channels are all set to bring in a tsunami of numbers starting from 6.30 PM. 

The exit poll numbers will predict the total number of seats each political party will bag during the Lok Sabha elections 2019.  

The biggest question is who has the commanding position and will form the government for the next five years. This will be decided on May 23 when the result of the election will be announced. However, until then, exit-polls will dominate all TV screens. 

Although, the poll survey in India is only an indicator because exit-poll results have been found to be generally unreliable. In 2014, however, most of the exit polls turned out to accurately predict the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance’s landslide victory.  

Narendra Modi led BJP registered its biggest victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections by getting 282 seats. The NDA together won 336 seats. The BJP swept all seats in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, and virtually won all of Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh (71 out of 80) as well as Bihar with allies. The Congress could win only 44 seats in its worst performance ever.

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Exit poll predictions 

1. The India TV-C voter survey had predicted that NDA will bag a majority in the Lok Sabha with 289 seats while the BJP is expected to win 250 seats on its own. The Congress-led UPA would win just 107 seats in its worst performance ever.

2. The News 24 Chanakya exit poll predicted a clean sweep for the BJP with 291 seats, making it capable of forming the government on its own. With its partners, the BJP is predicted to bag 340 seats. The Congress is expected to be at an all-time low with only 57 seats while the UPA is predicted to get to 70.

3. The ABP News-Nielsen survey, the NDA will comfortably form the government by crossing the 272 mark. It predicted the NDA would win 281 seats while the UPA is not likely to cross even 100. According to this survey, the BJP will gain hugely in UP, Bihar and Maharashtra.

4. The Times Now-ORG exit poll did not give a clear majority to the NDA but predicted 148 seats for the UPA and 249 for the NDA. It projected a clean sweep for the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi up north, with the party predicted to win 52 seats in Uttar Pradesh and six seats in Delhi.

5. The CNN-IBN-CSDS-Lokniti survey projected the NDA would bag about 276 seats while the UPA would not cross the three-figure mark. It projected strong showings by the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, with 45 to 53 seats, and in Maharashtra, where the BJPShiv Sena alliance looked set to bag 33 to 37 seats.

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What are exit polls and how it is done?

It is an extensive sample survey of voters taken just after the polling is over to predict the voting pattern and the mood of the nation. In the exit poll, agencies work for several months to get a hint at who people are voting for. In these surveys, voters are asked who they are likely to vote for. Many MNCs and private organisation are engaged in making the exit polls. These polls are not always accurate as it is done using a random sampling method.

When can exit poll results be released to the public?

Under the Section 126A of the Representation of the People's Act, 1951, there is an embargo on exit polls from the beginning of the elections till half an hour after the final phase of voting has been held. Hence, exit polls can only be telecast post 6.30 pm Sunday. The embargo on exit polls applies to print as well as electronic media.