A landslide for the BJP, but a mudslide for Pollsters

India has voted and the NDA has had a sweeping victory across the country with 339 seats. Of these, the BJP has taken 284, giving it a majority regardless of the alliances it made with other parties. The UPA, led by Congress, has had a shocking defeat, one of its worst in history, with only 58 seats, of which 44 went to the Congress. Ironically, it will now need to seek alliances with other parties to form an opposition in Parliament. The ADMK has 37 seats, the largest party categorised in the OTHER alliance. Whereas Tamil Nadu has typically played a role in forming the government through alliances, it will now have to decide whether to form an alliance with Congress to form the official opposition. This is the first time, since 1984, that a single party has won a parliamentary majority.

For the pollsters, this win shows their methodologies failed. As an aggregator of the pollsters, our own analysis was wholly off from what the actual result came out to be. Interestingly, the PEW Research, in its survey, was the closest to the result. It predicted 63% supporting the BJP to lead the next government. This translated to 342 seats. However, its prediction for the UPA and OTHER was not as accurate.

Returning to our own predictions and how they were wholly wrong, we feel the number of quality pollsters lacks in India. Whereas the USA elections, for example, have hundreds of pollsters, we were presenting our analyses on a handful of pollsters. We firmly believe more transparent quality pollsters are required, working at the state level.

Over the next few weeks, there will be much analysis of the results and parsing of the data to see how the election was won. Some of the more interesting questions will include the role played by the youth, caste, social media, and by the campaign style itself. Did a presidential-like campaign (ie the Modi Wave) play an important role? Did Amit Shahs' strategy in UP, focusing on local caste affiliations and the like for nominating members play a decisive role in the massive win the BJP had in the State? What role did the youth vote and social media play in the election?

John Oliver on Indian Elections

A great and funny piece on the US media ignoring the Indian election, as well as the present state of India's own media.

 

Overheard on the campaign trail

"Uday was under the influence of alcohol and lost his balance while selecting the button. Holding the machine in right hand, he fell down with the machine"
Nelamangala rural police describe their arrest of an inebriated voter.

“It is wrong to award death penalty for rape. Boys commit mistakes sometimes. If SP is voted to power, we will change the laws”
Mulayam Singh Yadav, Samajwadi Party, promises to lessen penalties for rape!

“Solution is this: any woman if, whether married or unmarried, goes along with a man, with or without her consent, should be hanged. Both should be hanged. It shouldn’t be allowed even if a woman goes by consent.
Abu Azmi, Samajwadi Party, expands on his partys’ promise for dealing with rape!

“They treated us to really good biryani and a quarter of whiskey” 
Rampal Singh, on his local partys’ hospitality

"My parents are traditionally loyal to a political party, but I voted for an individual I think can provide me security and job opportunities." 
Ritika, first time-voter, displaying newfound confidence in younger voters.

 "We have polling on different dates in western Maharashtra and Mumbai. Polling in Satara is on April 17 and in Mumbai on April 24. I advise Marathi workers to first cast vote in Satara on April 17, come back to Mumbai and again exercise franchise on April 24 … Of course, please do not forget to wipe the (electoral) ink before casting the vote the second time."
Sharad Pawar, NCP, providing logistical advice for double-voting!

‘We will chop him into tiny pieces’
Imran Masood, Congress, describing what he will do to PM-hopeful Modi

“Before, if voting was on a long weekend, we would have stepped out of the city earlier to make the most of our holiday…Now we realize the value of our votes. We will head out after.”
Aditi Rao, Software Professional, for whom the vote outweighs the long weekend.

"A couple of elections ago it was not such a game of money…Now you have business people in politics, whereas earlier they were involved in managing their empires."
P.K. Dash, Election Commission, complaining about the cash for vote problem

The Last of the Polls

While we should be awaiting exit poll predictions, NDTV released their last opinion poll, giving the NDA 275 seats - past the required 272 for a majority. Of course, opposing parties have claimed the poll doctored. Performed by Hansa Research, details on methodology have been brief, at best.

It is not inconceivable, if one views the other opinion polls as well as our aggregated analysis, to see the NDA get a majority. However, we still firmly believe it will be through newly formed alliances with parties in States such as Tamil Nadu.

Not right to give death penalty for committing rape: Mulayam

Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav today said, "It is not right to give death penalty for committing rape, boys make mistakes. If we come to power, we will check misuse of anti-rape law".

Bahu dilao-Vote pao! A different kind of Bribery

One for the weird files.... A group of men in Bibpur, Haryana, are spearheading a campaign to bribe politicians to ensure wives for villagers in return for their vote in the upcoming general elections.

Could Social Media make a difference?

With all opinion polls now banned while voting continues across India, we look at other interesting topics in relation to the Lok Sabha elections. Some will be serious and some will be fun!

This will unquestionably be considered the first social media election. Many Politicians, such as Modi and Shashi Tharoor, have millions of twitter followers each. With the electorate being increasingly young, every parties presence online will become increasingly important. Recently, the Internet and Mobile Association of India estimated that a well-executed social media campaign could swing 3-4% of votes.

Unfortunately, for those of us who like a little fun, it may mean officials will become more versed in social media and topics such as cloud computing. We will see less of the likes of Vishwa Bandhu!