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Alert readers have chastised me for missing the second Star-Nielsen poll released on Saturday. It was actually covered in the news section of the site, and there was no larger evil design or conspiracy in not including it here. But for the record, here it is again:
And here are the details and the comparison with the first poll:
For what it is worth, the interesting thing to note in this is that Congress, BJP both are up but the Congress has actually increased its tally by 11 from the first poll and the BJP by 10. Also, the UPA + the fourth front continue to lead the NDA by as much as 51.
This poll's figures for Congress and UPA therefore is pretty much in consonance with the other recent polls.
That said, it would be best to keep Srikant Sambrani's caution last week about what happened in 2004.
The pre-poll survey by Star News and Nielsen gives a clear lead to the Congress-led United Progressive alliance (UPA):
Graphics courtesy DNA
"The UPA total includes the projections for RJD, LJP and SP. The three parties have failed to reach a pre-poll agreement with the Congress but have been clubbed with the UPA, considering the probability of a post-poll alliance between them. Without the three, the UPA score stands at 210"
Other significant findings of the survey:
Maharashtra: Sharad Pawar's NCP is tipped to get 13 seats, one more than the Shiv Sena. The NCP-Cong-RPI combine will bag a total of 26 against the Sena-BJP's 22.
Bihar: The survey predicts RJD to be the ultimate loser with Lalu, Paswan and Congress not reaching an alliance. The RJD is tipped to get only 11 seats against the 24 it won the last time. Ramvilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party is tipped to increase its tally from four to six. NDA ally JD(U) will double its figure from eight to 16 in the 15th Lok Sabha.
Orissa: The divorce will benefit the BJP, not the BJD, whose last tally of 11 is expected to come down to nine.
Tamil Nadu: J Jayalalithaa's AIADMK, which drew a blank in the last election, still trails its main rival DMK. Jaya's party will get nine, while Karunanidhi's 24.
Andhra Pradesh: Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party is predicted to get 14 seats compared to five in the last elections, but is still behind Congress's 22.
But what needs to be kept in mind is that a week is a long time in politics and the week since the survey has seen some major developments -- collapse of the seat-sharing arrangement in Bihar and Jharkhand for the UPA, EC verdict on Varun Gandhi and the continuing spat between Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh. Meanwhile, for the third week in succession, DNA editors find UPA ahead:
Clearly, the effect of alliance trouble in Bihar and Jharkhand largely accounts for the variations from the last week's tally:
With seat-sharing talks coming unstuck for various combinations and equations changing with each passing day, the psephologists clearly have a nightmare on hand, and these forecasts should not be taken as anything other than indicative. The real fun and games would start only after the election results are out of May 16.
Graphics courtesy DNA