Politicians pretend that they do not like exit polls, even when they are shown to be winning. It is not surprising. The politicians know that the real test is the actual outcome. Conjectures, however close and legitimate, are not satisfying. And the politicians who are on the losing side do not want to accept defeat until it really hits them.

The May 19 exit polls conducted by a dozen and more television news channels and professional pollsters mostly indicated Narendra Modi’s BJP-led NDA was the winner. The BJP leaders are maintaining a smug silence, and saying their tally would be better than projected by the most favourable poll. Those who are arrayed against Mr Narendra Modi’s right-wing politics — perhaps Mr Modi doesn’t care what his politics is called as long as he is winning, and he loves to win every time — are not only sceptical about the exit poll projections, but are positively negative about the findings. The hostility is understandable, especially if Mr Modi is to emerge the winner on Many 23, as predicted by the exit polls.