If you are asked who your favourite politician is, your answer may be Modi, Mamata, Rahul, Kejriwal, Buddhadeb or Lalu, or some other famous politico. But mine is Ramdas Athavale. Reason?
I have been his fan since the day he said this in the parliament. What an attitude! Cool, man! And this very attitude was observed in the exit polls of West Bengal. The fact that the people have been swayed by Modi is giving sleepless nights to the powers that be at Nabanna, the chief minister’s office. You may ask who on earth I am and why should my word have any value. Where the exit polls of big media houses are predicting yet another Trinamool government, you are singing a saffron tune! Care to share your research?
Let me tell you that since I have been a surveyor myself, I know how these exit polls are done. And that is why I rely on gamblers more than surveyors. Now, don’t drop your jaws. Let me explain.
The gamblers at the betting market of Burrabazaar and Howrah are world-renowned. They bet on anything and everything from the probability of finding water on Mars to election results. And their predictions would give Nostradamus a run for his money. History says, barring the general election of 2004, the Burrabazaar and Howrah betting markets have never been off the mark. They predict the wave, if any, in every phase, and the size of the crowd in every rally based on the political temperature of the time. They do not limit themselves to finding out which party would form the government with how many seats, they predict accurately even about the leading candidates.
Betting happens online as well. They vary from the predictions of Burrabazaar and Howrah by a point or two. But this difference may be attributed to their own tendency to improvise on what they learn from these betting markets.
Let’s get on with the ratings of this Bengal election. As per the rating dated 7 April, the BJP was at 151153 while the Trinamool was at 115117. If your prediction comes true, you get double the money you had gambled with.
You may answer with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. If your answer is a ‘yes’, the BJP must get at least 153 seats or, if you were to favour the Trinamool, the party ruling Bengal must win in at least 117 constituencies. And if you say ‘no’, the BJP will have to get less than 151 seats while the Trinamool must get less than 115. If your prediction matches the real outcome of the election, you get double the money you had put in. The BJP had, at this rate, gone up to 165 seats at one point while its lowest score was 138. Trinamool’s range was a modest 112-127.
But the equations changed in the last three phases. As I had said before, the gamblers monitor keenly every move and analyse the situation threadbare. They did not miss the caution that the voters exercised in the face of a second Covid wave or the parties switching from public meetings in the fields to online campaigning. The equations changed as a result. The BJP has descended from its 151153 points to seats numbering between 149 and 151 whereas the Trinamool has improved its position from 115117 points to manage a tally of 125-127 seats. This means that while Trinamool has bettered its position, it is still lagging behind the BJP.
Of course, what exit poll you believe in would be a gamble too. Rather than muddying the waters, we have placed before you an alternative process, an alternative vision. To know what be the real outcome of the Bengal election, stay in tune with Sirf News.
The reporter is a former psephologist