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Indian shares zoom to record highs as exit polls signal a Modi win

Markets are banking on the electorate’s hope for political stability as exit polls project a clear majority for the ruling BJP 

Indian stock market indexes have skyrocketed to record highs as exit polls predict a massive win for the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies, in a weeks-long voting process that ended on Saturday.

The equity benchmark indices opened at record highs on Monday as investors eyed continued public spending and the maintenance of momentum in what is the world’s fifth-largest economy. Both Sensex and Nifty, the indices of the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange, hit record highs. While Nifty zoomed 3.6% to a record 23,338 points, Sensex surged 3.8% to a record 76,738.89, Mint reported.

Stocks in Adani Ports and Adani Enterprises jumped 8.5% and 6.7%, respectively. Notably, owner Gautam Adani overtook fellow tycoon Mukesh Ambani to attain the designation ‘richest Asian’ after those surges. On Monday morning, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, 61-year-old Adani’s net worth stood at $111 billion.

Meanwhile, the Indian rupee strengthened to 82.95 against the US dollar, its highest since March 19.

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A man watches exit polls on his phone at the end of the final phase of India's general election, Hyderabad, June 1, 2024.
Indian exit polls project victory for Modi

After polling on the final phase of the country’s national election wrapped up, most exit polls projected that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), headed by Modi’s BJP, could win a two-thirds majority in the Lok Sabha, India’s 543-member lower house; 272 seats are required for a simple majority.

Among the pollsters that have projected a clear majority for the BJP-led coalition are Republic Bharat-P Marq (predicting 359 seats), India News-D-Dynamics (371 seats), Republic Bharat-Matrize (about 360), Dainik Bhaskar (between 281 and 350), News Nation (about 360), and Jan Ki Baat, whose tally results suggest the party will take just short of 380 seats.

Yashwant Deshmukh of C-Voter told the Economic Times that the science of exit polls predicts vote share and that seat-prediction is not “at all part of it.” He added that “vote share to seat conversion is a mathematical extrapolation over the data.”

However, in the aftermath of the exit polls, BJP supporters have already started making preparations for a huge roadshow in the nation’s capital Delhi to celebrate victory, The Times of India reported.

READ MORE: Who is Narendra Modi, the Indian strongman seeking a third term in the 2024 polls?

Meanwhile, the Indian National Congress (INC), the principal opposition in the Lok Sabha, has opposed exit polls and urged people to wait instead for the count. On Monday, Rahul Gandhi, the de-facto leader of Congress, claimed the opposition bloc would win 295 seats. “We are hopeful that our results are completely the opposite to what the exit polls are showing,” Sonia Gandhi, the former president of the party and Rahul’s mother, told media.

Exit polls have a mixed record in India as they have incorrectly forecast results. In 2019, most exit polls underestimated the Modi-led NDA’s performance. The coalition defied expectations, winning 353 parliamentary constituencies. In the 2004 elections, exit polls projected over 240 to 250 seats for NDA, whereas the real results would ultimately favor Congress.

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June 03, 2024 at 05:28PM

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