Electoral assessments and opinion polls in India have gone spectacularly wrong, and we at Outlook should know. Still, how does one make sense of the “most interesting election ever”?
In September 2013, when Narendra Modi was anointed BJP’s PM candidate, we asked 29 experts—journalists, academics, analysts—in each of our 29 states to give us their best-case scenario for the NDA in 2014 in their states (see No, He Can’t). They came up with a figure of 187.
At the end of April, we went back to the same 29 experts, and their ‘Gumshoe Guesstimate’—the old-school way of measuring elections before psephologists became part of our lexicon—now give us a consolidated figure of 229, up 42 from six months ago, but a number which contests most opinion polls which unanimously speak of a so-called “Modi wave”.
Of course, this Gumshoe Guesstimate carries the health warning of being subjective and susceptible to bias. It could also be spectacularly wrong. But as opposed to faceless polls, these individual assessments capture a clearer picture of the complex politics playing out in the states.
So, what has worked for the NDA? The number of BJP allies is now 27 as against four; Modi’s unabashedly personalised campaign; the BJP’s victories in assembly polls; and to top it all, the Congress’s effete response to the anti-incumbency against the Manmohan Singh government.
Of our original 29 crystal ball-gazers, one’s taken up a political assignment; another’s done a post-poll study for another agency, and felt it would be ethically wrong of him to hazard a guess. Otherwise, all our wise men remain the same.
Out of the 154 seats in the eight northern states, BJP-led NDA expected to bag 81, up from 61 in September 2013, on the back of a near-sweep in Madhya Pradesh
Despite question marks in Maharashtra, a 12-seat jump for the BJP-led NDA in the four western states, up from 56 to 68, out of the 101 seats on offer
Not much trace of a ‘Modi wave’ in the four southern states. The BJP-led NDA tally still expected to stay around 30, out of the 129 seats
Marginal improvement in the 13 eastern states, largely on the back of an improved showing in Orissa. NDA tally up from 40 to 50.
Interviews by Uttam Sengupta, Abhijit Mazumdar, Pragya Singh, Prachi Pinglay-Plumber, Madhavi Tata and R.K. Misra
In Patricia Mukhim's quote in the cover story (The Modi Hollowgram, May 12), the dead BJP MLA being referred to is T.H. Rangad, not Masonsing Sangma as mentioned. We regret the error.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Outlook not alone in making dumb predictions
A funny read
Cannot resist taking a dig at this prediction by Outlook but then I cannot think of anything funnier than the article.
There is one idiot who posts the same comment over and over again on different threads (and our moderators look the other way like the EC). Please do not follow this poor example.
UPA-1 was as big a disaster as UPA-2. Pseudo-Seculars and news traders are allowing Congress to get away by distorting facts. Coal Scam, 2G, Agusta Westland all started during UPA-1 itself, just that it was exposed during UPA-2.
Congress escaped by blaming CPI-M and they were made to pay the electoral price for all problems of UPA-1 like not passing reforms and Congress was allowed to get away by paid media in name of passing nuclear deal.
As Delhi assembly suprised us all 6 months ago, AAP will be a winner with 300 seats.
Will miss you for sure after May 16 on OLI.
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