Saturday, January 25, 2014

The meaning of the latest opinion polls: says Dr. Javed Jamil

Opinion Polls are virtually polls of people opinion or an effort to enforce an self designed opinion on the people? Analysed Dr. Javed Jamil, a vivid media watcher

Opinion polls are often misleading. Still, they give a broad hint of the public mood. The latest opinion polls conducted by several agencies (including ABP, IBN7 and Aaj Tak) in the months of December and first fortnight of January do appear to give certain hints. Some commentators have argued that the public mood can be divided into three categories depending upon the time when the survey has been conducted: Before 8 December, 8th December to 17th January and Post 17th January. Before 8th December, it was Modi all the way. After 8th December when the Assembly Elections results were declared, Kejriwal’s popularity suddenly crossed the escape velocity reaching sky high. After 17th January, when Rahul Gandhi was declared Head of Congress Campaign committee, the fight became triangular. Fortunately for BJP and  nfortunately for Kejriwal and Congress, the AAP’s rise seems to have stalled in the wake of the Dharna that has created huge controversy. The media, the intellectuals and many other activists have started questioning Kjriwal’s ideological positions and methods. The opinion
polls have also not shown substantial gains for AAP in the country. But the opinion polls have given certain indications, both positive and negative. First, it appears that NDA led by BJP is going to emerge the largest combination.
Second, UPA led by Congress is expected to show badly. Third, the Kejriwal factor is not expected to play a big role. Fourth, the other parties, including non-BJP, non-Congress regional parties and left parties are expected to do excellently well. The bad news for all is that no single combination is expected to form government on its own. The biggest setback of course will be for BJP, for which it is a do or die election. In case of a hung parliament, Congress and other parties can come together to form government under a leader acceptable to all.

The opinion polls also provide an opportunity to various parties to revise their strategies. If the current opinion polls are analysed, it is clear that a combination of Congress and RJD of Lalu Yadav can bring rich dividends and can make it tougher for Modi. It also shows that if Congress and BSP come together, it can seal the fate for BJP. The problem is that while Laloo-Congress alliance is almost sure to be realized, Mayawati is not expected to enter into a pre-poll alliance. Congress can also try alliances with Karunanidhi in TN, regional parties in Andhra Pradesh and Mamta Banerjee in West Bengal. If AAP can recover from the current troubles, it can still pose serious threat to the two big parties.

Muslims are keeping their fingers crossed. They are surely going to become a key factor in the final results. Unfortunately, they are not focusing on the issues, and are in a haste to discuss the merits of the parties. The best option for them is to keep watching. There is no natural claimant to their votes. In all likelihood, they will ultimately decide on tactical voting. Their choices will be from among Congress, AAP, BSP and other regional parties, with preferences changing in different states. It is almost sure that expectations will swing and swing fast several times before the actual polling. In all likelihood  Indiais going to witness political turmoil in next few years. Can Muslims play a role in setting the agenda for the future, where they are not merely asking certain benefits for them, but are also giving their vision of the country based on their ideological perceptions? 
Dr. Javed Jamil may be contacted at email:

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