Whether it’s about television rating points (TRP) or the love for PM Narendra Modi is the matter of debate but the news channels started declaring the exit poll results within seconds of the last votes polled (6.30pm). The six main pollsters showed that for the second time, Modi’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will rule, winning anywhere between 287 and 336 seats.
What’s funny is that the final tally each survey predicted was varied but were uniformly well above the 272 seats needed to form a government. As if to provide some relief to the Opposition, two surveys showed the NDA falling short — by between five and 30 seats. Surprisingly, Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu has mocked the exit polls, saying “exit polls do not mean exact polls. We have to understand that. Since 1999, most of the exit polls have gone wrong”.
I agree with Naidu and want to mention here that exit polls after the 2004 Lok Sabha polls had given 68 more seats to the NDA than it got. But after the results, we had the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ruling India for the next 10 years. It has also been observed that when forecasters made mistakes in a few states but got the bigger picture right, the error in one state was cancelled out by the error in another; if the NDA or the UPA did not rise to the expectations in one state, it excelled in another. Hence there is nothing wrong with Naidu devaluing exit polls.
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad
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