Over the last 2 weeks, Delhi Election 2015 has caught the imagination of people. What was till recently considered as just another assembly election has now turned into a major political storm eagerly watched by viewers across the nation and the media channels making a merry out of it through TRPs. One of the main reasons for the TRPs being the startling opinion polls conducted by media channels which predict majority seats for AAP, a party which was believed to be obscured after the 49 day anarchy followed by resignation drama and the Lok Sabha debacle.
Interesting election campaigns of Nehru’s Congress Party from 1952:
The following shocking video clip which has become viral in social media depicts the kind of anarchy & chaos which prevailed during the 49 day rule of AAP:
Another shocking video which depicts anarchy & insult to sovereignty:
All the opinion polls till recently had indicated clear victory to BJP in Delhi assembly election but the latest opinion polls have taken political pundits also by surprise.
For example, the ABP-Nielsen opinion poll on 2nd Feb 2015 predicts that AAP will get 48% vote share and majority seats.
This is indeed very interesting and evokes curiosity because the same news channel’s opinion polls, throughout 2014 had been predicting 25-30% vote share to AAP.
On 12th Dec 2014, it had predicted 27% vote share to AAP.
So, what happened between 12th Dec 2014 & 2nd Feb 2015? The best way to find out is by analyzing at a granular level within this time-frame to pinpoint the approximate timeframe in which the the numbers changed and then determine the reason for it.
Let’s find out when the news channel had conducted its previous opinion poll. It was on 19th January 2015 in which it had predicted similar numbers to that of the 2nd Feb opinion polls.
On 19th January 2015, it had predicted 47% vote share (similar to the 48% vote share predicted on 2nd Feb) for AAP.
Since the 19th Jan & 2nd Feb opinion polls have similar results, it means nothing significant happened in that interval and hence some significant political event must have taken place between 12th Dec 2014 & 19th Jan 2015. There was only 1 opinion poll within this timeframe and it was on 16th Jan (just 3 days before the 19th Jan poll). This was the opinion poll which showed a drastic change in numbers. Let’s analyze it further.
On 16th Jan, it had predicted 31% vote share to AAP.
So, lets consolidate the above facts now.
On 16th Jan, this news channel had predicted 31% to AAP and in just 3 days, the same channel predicted 47% to AAP. In just 3 days, there was a swing of whopping 16% !! Never before in the history of India has any election witnessed such a drastic swing in the mood of voters in such a short time (of just 3 days). The most eventful election in the history of India is that of the 1984 General Election which witnessed a huge sympathy wave due to the assassination of Indira Gandhi which caused massive swing. But even that “massive” swing was just around 6%.
In 1980, Congress had a voteshare of around 43% and in the next election also, it was expected to hold its voteshare at same level but the sympathy wave had resulted in 49% in 1984. i.e Swing of 6%.
References to details of voteshare for 1980 & 1984 elections:
Coming back to the topic of Delhi Election, what might have happened between 16th & 19th January? There was no scam unearthed, neither was there any riot, nor any other significant political event. In fact, PM Modi’s soaring reputation & his preparations to receive Obama on Republic Day (the very next week itself) had actually favored BJP. Even critics who were skeptical of BJP Govt were impressed when Modi managed to make India proud internationally by persuading the President of USA to attend the Republic Day of India and even managed to sign the nuclear deal which was not possible by the previous Govt. Then what explains the 16% swing in favor of AAP by opinion polls in just a matter of 3 days?
On 17th January 2015, BJP’s CM candidate Kiran Bedi had spelled out her promises which were presented as “6 Ps”.
“The six “Ps” she mentioned were Prisons, Prosecution, outreach to People, Parents, improving Policing, including community policing, and finally, the Press, which includes media.
On the looks of it, it seems fine but notice the last “P” i.e Press. She had said that she will reform the press & news media. This had actually sent shivers down the spine of media channels because in today’s format of media consumption, news channels have been making a livelihood just based on sensational, insensitive news for TRPs. Also, Delhi being the epicentre of Indian media, is a vital source for political news & TRPs and hence keeping that in control will suppress the media. Rajdeep Sardesai, in his book “2014: The elections that changed India” explains the importance of Delhi in Indian media and the need for controversial figures for TRPs by taking up the example of Kejriwal.
With this understanding, it is pretty evident that Kiran Bedi’s plan to reform press & media at Delhi will be like cutting the oxygen supply in the TRP news industry which is already being suffocated due to PM Modi, and has not gone down well with the media fraternity which will be facing obscurity if she comes to power.
What does the media do now? Simple. They fight for their survival and one way is to use all their resources to oppose Kiran Bedi and promote AAP by uniting together and coming up with fake opinion polls, thinking that the Indian viewers would be foolish enough to gulp down their results showing 16% voteshare swings within just 3 day span, which had not happened even during sympathy waves due to assassinations in the past. One can verify this claim by digging out all the opinion polls presented by different media channels over the last few weeks and it can be found that 17th January 2015 was the turning point. i.e All opinion polls presented before 17th January were predicting major victory for BJP but those which were presented after 17th January have been predicting major victory for AAP. The media will try every trick till the Delhi Election to fight tooth and nail using AAP as their proxy because it is a matter of media’s survival now.
Those who have their ears firmly on the ground seem to have a different picture altogether. For example, consider the bookies who are usually the real indicators of the trend. Despite all such opinion polls going on since 19th Jan, the bookies who are placing big bets seem to suggest that BJP will win with a clear majority as reported in the recent news on 1st Feb.
Which party is going to win with a majority and form the Govt is for the voters to decide, but by taking viewers for a ride with their hasty & manipulated opinion polls, the media seems to have put its conscience & journalism ethics out of the window.
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Don’t forget to read the analysis of “Why Kejriwal resigned in 49 days” here:
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Get nostalgic by going back in time into Old India:
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