The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could be in for a rude shock in the Gujarat Assembly elections, said noted political scientist Yogendra Yadav
on Wednesday — a day before the last phase of voting in the state.
“There was a sharp swing against the BJP in the past few weeks,” and he said, adding: “Unless the trend is dramatically reversed, surveys lead to the same conclusion — defeat for the BJP.”
Yadav, a leader of the political organisation Swaraj Abhiyan
with nearly two decades of experience as a psephologist, had based his projections on the data collected in three surveys since August by CSDS-ABP. He said the results if the Gujarat polls
could be subdivided between urban, semi-urban, and rural areas.
Polling will be held for 93 seats on Thursday. The first phase of polling was held on December 9 for 89 of the 182 seats in the Assembly. The counting of votes is on December 18. Exit polls are will be in after voting ends.
In a tweet, Yadav said the BJP was “on a solid wicket” in the 39 urban seats. “It can’t lose more than 10 seats [in urban areas].” In semi-urban areas, where it now has 36 seats, it might lose half.
Yadav forecast that the BJP faced a “steady downhill” in the 98 rural seats, where it had trailed the Congress in 2012 Assembly polls, and could now face a rout.
He told this newspaper that he was no longer in the business of election forecasting. “That was my previous birth. Nor have I the desire to compete with pollsters and journalists, who have access to better technology and information. It isn’t also about me saying on the counting day that I was right. But, given the very loud silence (around election forecast and coverage), and in the larger public interest, someone needed to say it.”
He said it seemed to him that all observers — journalists, pollsters and other analysts — were sitting with evidence that pointed in one direction. “For various reasons, they were not putting all that evidence together, which pointed to the most obvious conclusion. That is why I decided to put it in the public domain.”
The CSDS-ABP survey
has forecast a slim majority for the BJP. It had predicted 95 seats (range: 91 to 99) for the ruling party, and 82 seats (range: 78 to 86) for the Congress. Other parties and Independents are likely to win five seats (range: three to seven).
The survey had put the vote share of both the BJP and the Congress at 43 per cent each.
On December 4, after the CSDS-ABP survey
findings were released, Yadav had said that the survey showed a “consistent fall in BJP’s lead” from the first survey in August, where it was ahead of the Congress by 30 per cent share of votes.
In the October survey, BJP’s lead over the Congress shrunk to 6 per cent, and the latest survey in November showed the two parties would have an equal share of votes. “Also, pre-poll surveys overestimate the ruling party. My overall conclusion: BJP headed for big defeat. This could be a political earthquake,” Yadav tweeted.
The Times Now-VMR survey, released a couple of days after CSDS-ABP, forecast a comfortable majority for the BJP at 106 to 116 seats. The CVoter-TV9 survey also predicted 109 seats for the BJP. The majority mark in the 182 member Gujarat Assembly is 92 seats.
Yadav had then said the Times Now-VMR survey
confirmed the “trend” reported by CSDS-ABP. He said the biggest take away from the Times Now-VMR survey
was that the BJP’s lead dropped by 10 per cent since October.