#BiharPolls: Who is this modern Chanakya?

#BiharPolls: Who is this modern Chanakya?
#BiharPolls: Who is this modern Chanakya?

New Delhi

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]oday’s Chanakya has once again stuck its neck out. In predicting the outcome of the Bihar poll, it has broken away from broader consensus and given food for thought to some of the best psephologists in the business of poll forecast. Pollsters or politicians can sneer at this modern Chanakya, but he had proved them wrong more often than not.

If the ancient Chanakya gave the world Arthashastra, then nearly 2500 years later he is back to redefine psephology. Part of a Delhi-based RNB market research Company, Today’s Chanakya conducts research for political parties and commercial enterprises in Asia, Africa and Middle East countries.

According to information put out about the company on Wikepedia, the RNB Research is a global market research company, headquartered in New Delhi, India. RNB Research operates through its own offices in 15 cities across 10 countries – China, Egypt, GCC, India, Kenya, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Thailand & Vietnam. It specializes in qualitative and quantitative custom market research. It has experience in most major sectors, particularly consumer products, media, retail, financial services, food and beverages, technology, telecommunications and internet research.

“It provides accurate, Non-partisan, evidence-based relevant data & analysis on public opinions, government policies on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping India and across the globe,” the company claims on its website.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]O[/dropcap]ver the years, Today’s Chanakya has emerged as a credible pollster with an uncanny ability to feel the pulse of people and have the courage to go public with its findings. While most pollsters try to be “cautious”, and in many cases downplay the numbers, Today’s Chanakya is always ready to be unconventional in its approach.

In the backdrop of its stunning success in getting the forecast of the Lok Sabha poll right on the money, Today’s Chanakya’s forecast for Bihar polls has created a stir in the political quarters, and questions are being asked on how this modern day Kautilya gets his facts right.

The first and foremost factor which differentiates Today’s Chanakya from the rest of the pack is the fact that its researchers cut themselves from popular media perception and political opinions. This is done to ensure that their findings are not colored.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]oday’s Chanakya places a great deal of emphasis in getting its sample right. In an interview to the Indian Express after the Lok Sabha polls, Today’s Chanakya CEO Vinod Baja said that: We take great pain to ensure that our sample is diverse and truly representative of local factors. We donot use a universal sample factors for all territories. Then wee let our data tell the story. We donot worry about it being in sync with or in contradiction to popular perception.”

Baja also went on to say that it was not necessary to have big sample to get the outcome right.” The popular perception is that the bigger the sample size better the result. I disagree completely. It’s possible to get the correct picture with a smaller sample size provided it is diverse enough to capture the undercurrent,” he said.

In its own words as stated by the company on its website “Today’s Chanakya is one of the leading public opinion polling company specializing in political, public affairs, public policy research in India since 1995.

“We have given out some fantastic analysis, which are not only remarkable but also undisputed. We have made unbiased projections having estimated the outcomes of every state and national election since our company was founded giving victory to Congress, BJP or any other regional party in the respective state / situation with a clear cut indication of our unbiased projection.”

Track record of Today’s Chanakya:

  • In December 2013 polls for four states, Today’s Chanakya’ gave a clear majority to BJP with 161 seats in Madhya Pradesh (BJP got 167), 51 in Chhattisgarh (BJP got 48) and 147 in Rajasthan (BJP got 153) , while it gave Congress only 62 in Madhya Pradesh (Congress won 58) , 39 in Chhattisgarh (Congress got exactly 39) and a 39 in Rajasthan (Congress got 21).
  • In December 2013 Delhi polls, Today’s Chanakya was the first to project the emergence of the AAP as a major force. It had predicted AAP to get 31 seats (AAP got 28) and 29 to BJP (BJP got 31).
  • But it was the last year’s Lok Sabha polls that made Today’s Chanakya a household name in India. The forecaster predicted 291 seats to BJP and 330 to NDA. The results could not have been closer to the forecast: : BJP 282, NDA 336.
  • In Maharashtra, Haryana Assembly polls (October 2014) Today’s Chanakya gave 151 seats (± 9 seats), 71 seats (± 9) to Shiv Sena, 27 seats (± 5) to Congress, 28 seats (± 5) to NCP and 11 seats (± 5) to others. Times Now gave 129 seats to BJP, 56 seats to Shiv Sena, 43 seats to Congress, 36 seats to NCP and 24 seats to MNS and Others. ABP-Nielsen gave 127 seats to BJP, 77 to Shiv Sena, 40 to Congress, 34 to NCP and 10 to others. India TV – Cvoter gave 124-134 seats to BJP, 51-61 seats to Shiv Sena, 38-48 seats to Congress, 31-41 seats to NCP, 9-15 seats to MNS and Others each. The final tally was BJP 122 seats, Shiv Sena 63, Congress 42, NCP 41 and MNS just 1 seat.
  • Today’s Chanakya exit poll telecast on News24 channel projected clear majority for BJP in Haryana, giving it 52 of the 90 seats. INLD comes second with 23 seats, Congress 10 and others 5. Result: BJP 47, INLD 9, Congress, 15
  • In Delhi Assembly polls of 2015, Today’s Chankaya was close to getting it right. It projected 48 seats to AAP and 22 to BJP, Except Axis exit poll prediction of 53 for the AAP, the rest of them got their figure totally wrong and failed to see the complete sweep of Arvind Kejriwal’s outfit which won 67 out of 70 seats.
Navin is a senior journalist with years of experience in covering India’s Capital city. His keen observations and ability to create the big picture from disparate pieces of information is invaluable.
Navin Upadhyay


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