All the ole faithful can concede is a slim lead

Rajat Sharma‘s India TV has given the BJP and the NDA a slight edge over the Congress and the UPA, respectively, in an “opinion poll” conducted by over 200 reporters.

The channel says the BJP will get 11 seats more than the Congress, and the NDA will get 9 seats more than the UPA, if Mulayam Singh Yadav‘s SP, Lalu Prasad Yadav‘s RJD, and Ram Vilas Paswan‘s LJP stay away from the latter. If, however, they come together after the polls, UPA will have about 235 seats. The UPA will then need another 37 seats to cobble up a majority.

On the other hand, if some constituents of the Third Front minus Left (120 minus 35) join with NDA (187), the NDA may still need break-away groups from the Fourth Front. In Karnataka, the poll gives 17 for the BJP, seven for the Congress, and four for the JDS.

Rajat Sharma was an advisor to the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led NDA government.