The next general elections are around the corner and the mainstream has already started preparing ground to bring back its political masters back to power. It is already in election campaign mode.
Last week, The C-Voter ABP News survey on the upcoming assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh came out and it suggested that BJP is losing all three states. Even the Congress party would disagree with this bizarre survey.
Now, the India Today has also come out with its survey predicting the possible outcomes of 2019 general election. India Today Karvy Insights Mood of the Nation (MOTN) survey suggests that the BJP will somehow manage to come to power in a triangular contest (NDA vs UPA vs 3rd front) or there will be a hung parliament in case of a bipartite contest (BJP vs Mahagathbandhan).
The survey is problematic at many levels and it misses many things.
First, the sample size of the survey is way too small. According to a India Today report, “A total of 12,100 interviews were conducted (68% in rural & 32% in urban areas) across 97 parliamentary constituencies in 194 assembly constituencies in 19 states Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.” And the fieldwork for survey was carried out between July 18, 2018 and July 29, 2018.
As is clearly evident, the sample size of the survey is very small and the urban-rural distribution is irrational. Urban areas, which are the core vote bank areas of the BJP, have been given less importance. The survey also misses key states and regions like North East (which is almost completely dominated by the BJP) which has 25 Lok Sabha seats and the other BJP ruling states such as Goa, Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh have been completely ignored in the survey. In total these three states have 11 parliamentary seats. Total 36 BJP influential parliamentary seats were not even part of the survey.
Second, the survey completely ignores the possibility of simultaneous elections. In case of simultaneous elections following states may go to polling along with the general elections- Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Bihar, Mizoram and Odisha. The simultaneous elections will be a direct showdown between PM Modi vs Rahul Gandhi and no prize for guessing what would be the outcome in such a scenario. It is tried and tested success formula of the BJP. Except for the BJP, all other political parties lack resources and manpower to invest in case of simultaneous election. Parties of united alliance against the BJP would be busy in saving their own fort instead of campaigning against the BJP in other states. Except for Mizoram, the BJP has edge over other parties in the remaining states. In all other states either the BJP is ruling or their existing allies or new found NDA allies are ruling the state.
Third, a tripartite election (which is most likely as per India Today) is an advantage for the BJP and there will be a huge splitting of votes. India follows the first past the post style of elections, vote shares do not reflect the actual standing of the party. In 2014 general elections vote share of the BSP was 4.2% but it failed to open its account, on the other hand vote share of AIADMK was 3.3% and it won 37 Lok Sabha seats. The votes of BSP were scattered on the other hand that of AIADMK were consolidated. Hence, having more vote share is not going to help the case of the third front and the BJP is likely to win most of the seats no matter how small margin of the victory is going to be. A post-poll alliance between the UPA and the third front sounds like a very remote possibility because once the election is over they won’t be even having enough numbers to come to the discussion table. And also in such a contest people would prefer a party like BJP which has given a hope of better future through its 4.5 years of governance rather than voting for a Grand Old Corrupt party and a scattered third front which has nothing promising to offer except anti-Modi rant.
And last but not the least the survey completely disregards the impoverished and most backward classes of India who have found a new ray of hope in PM Modi. There are a number of BPL families and poor families who are the beneficiaries of Sukanya Yojana, Ujjawala Yojana, Jan Dhan Yojana, MUDRA Yojana and the massive rural electrification drive. In recent times, the BJP has gained acceptance among the poor people and it is no longer a party based only in the urban pockets of the country. In the recently concluded Karnataka elections, the BJP has received a huge number of votes from the poor and backward classes.
So, the overall conclusion is that India Today should have tried better. It should have come up with a much more detailed and diverse survey. So many things which would play a crucial in deciding the outcomes of the 2019 elections have been missed out and such misses reduce the credibility of the survey as well as of the media organization. People get the impression that the survey is biased and misleading and have been carried out to serve the interest of a particular political party ahead of elections.