The Aam Aadmi Party claims that it will form the next Government in Delhi. The basis of this claim is a survey conducted by the Aam Aadmi Party. If election surveys were the only criterion, then people would not wait for the results of elections. Arvind Kejriwal claims that the Aam Aadmi Party will get 32 per cent of votes and win 46 out of 70 seats. If you are in an election campaign then there is nothing wrong in making such claims. But the reality is different. If on a single day, ten surveys are held simultaneously in the same locality then results of all these surveys will different. Therefore, declaring oneself to be the winner on the basis of a survey is nothing but propaganda. The Aam Admi Party’s survey is neither reliable nor valid.
In India TV’s ‘Aap ki Adalat’ programme, Arvind Kejriwal made the disclosure that an election survey shown on TV channels in recent days was a scam in which 4-5 TV channels were involved. In these surveys, the Aam Aadmi Party had been shown at number three. He also claimed that according to the survey conducted by his own party, the Aam Aadmi Party would get a majority in Delhi. At the same time, he challenged all TV channels to make the raw data of their surveys public, as all the information about the survey conducted by the Aam Aadmi Party had been made public. The raw data of that survey is available on the website of the Aam Aadmi Party.
Chauthi Duniya obtained the raw data from the Aam Aadmi Party website, got out the questionnaires, and analyzed them. The pertinent question that needs to be asked is, If a survey cannot substantiate the results of the last elections, it means something or the other is amiss somewhere. When compiling the survey findings, this should be kept in mind and in focus. In the survey questionnaire of the Aam Aadmi Party, question number five is most interesting. In this question people had been asked which party they had voted for in the previous 2008 assembly elections. Let us first glean which party got how many votes in the 2008 Delhi assembly elections. According to Election Commission in the 2008 Delhi elections, the Congress Party got 40.31%, Bharatiya Janta Party 36.34%, the Bahujan Samaj Party got 14.05% and others got 9.3% votes. Now let us see the survey findings of the Aam Aadmi Party. But, according to the latest survey of the Aam Aadmi Party, the Congress Party in 2008 got 45.58%, Bharatiya Janta Party 26.24%, and the Bahujan Samaj Party a mere 2.79% votes. Apart from this, 22.88% people in the survey did not respond. If the votes of people who have not responded are distributed in the same ratio, the final results are : the Congress Party gets 55.93%, Bharatiya Janta Party gets 32.59%, and 3.43% votes go to the Bahujan Samaj Party. The figures of the survey results and the Delhi 2008 election survey results do not match.
In the actual outcome of the elections, the difference in votes between the Congress and the BJP was just 4%, but according to the survey of the Aam Aadmi Party, the difference is about 23% per cent. AAP’s survey result on Bahujan Samaj Party from this survey is laughable and ridiculous. Actually, the BSP got 14.05% votes, whereas according to the survey of the Aam Aadmi Party, 3.43 per cent in 2008. If those who did this survey had seen the ‘actuality’ of their survey, then perhaps they would not have made their survey report public. If a survey cannot make a correct assessment about the elections, then it obviously means it is not a reliable survey.
The thing to relish is that the Aam Aadmi Party’s survey questionnaire’s question number 8 is the same as question number 5 which has been mentioned above. Same thing has been asked in question number 5 and 8 that in the previous 2008 assembly elections in Delhi, to which party did you give your vote. Both are one and the same question. Now let us see what the result of the survey is this time : the Congress Party gets 42.72%, Bharatiya Janata Party gets 24.31%, the Bahujan Samaj Party gets 2.40% votes, and 28.79% did not respond. This means to say that if the same question is asked at an interval or gap of two minutes, according to this survey, the votes of the Congress and the BJP have come down by two per cent respectively. Different results for the same question in the same survey indicate that the survey was prepared willy-nilly in a flap. It seems that it has been prepared to be used for election propaganda showing the Aam Aadmi Party as number one.
When Dhananjai Joshi, the Director of Cicero, the agency which conducted the survey for the Aam Aadmi Party, was asked why in the same survey the same question was there two times, he answered by asking which is that question in the survey which is there twice. This means that Director Sahib is totally unaware of this. When he was told question number 5 and 8, pat came the reply that its seems there must have been some mistake, however, one question was for the assembly elections and the second question was for the Lok Sabha elections. By giving such a reply he made the survey look even much more embarrassing, because in the Delhi elections, the difference between the Congress and the BJP was not 20 per cent of votes as is being said in this survey. By putting his faith in such a survey Arvind Kejriwal has put his credibility at stake. Now it cannot be understood who suggested to him that the raw data should be made public.
The Aam Aadmi Party claims that it is fighting for integrity. But let us cast an eye on the integrity of this survey. In the second survey conducted by the Aam Aadmi Party, people were told that they have come from Global Research and Analytics. When we spoke to Dhananjai Joshi, the Director of the agency which had conducted the survey for the Aam Aadmi Party, he said at first that this organisation was located in Saket in Delhi. Considerable efforts were made to locate it in Saket but it could not be found. It has no website either. When a search was made on the Internet, it was found that the organisation by this name was a branch of S&P, i.e. Standard and Poors, which in India has branches at Mumbai, Gurgaon, Chennai and Pune. Standard and Poors is an American financial services company. It publishes research and analysis on shares and financial matters. The Governments of countries are shaken by its reports. Now it is beyond one’s understanding what relationship the Aam Aadmi Party has with this agency. If there is a relationship, then it is a disturbing matter, and if there is no relationship then it means that the agency which has carried out the survey has done so on an untruthful, misleading basis.
By the way, the Director of Cicero asked in a very suspicious tone how one came to know about Global Research and Analytics. When he was told that the information had come in hand from somewhere, he replied that nothing could be said about information that had come to hand from somewhere. Perhaps Director Sahib was not aware that this information is there on the website of the Aam Aadmi Party. This is written in the first sentence of the second survey of the Aam Aadmi Party and these documents have been said to have been certified through the name of Doctor Sahib. During discussions, the Director of Cicero also said that Global Research and Analytics had nothing to do with the survey. We are therefore publishing alongside the Aam Aadmi Party’s survey questionnaire.
The second lie which was told to the people in the Aam Aadmi Party survey was that this survey was being carried out to write articles for newspapers and this survey and was not linked in any way to any party or Government and the information given to them will not be revealed to anyone and their identity would be kept secret. The Aam Aadmi Party kept only the identity of people secret and broke all the other promises. People who talk of a code of conduct, of integrity, should perhaps look within themselves and introspect. This survey was being done for the Aam Aadmi Party. Its information was not only made public, it was also used by the Aam Aadmi Party for electoral propaganda. The surprising thing is that Arvind Kejriwal is also saying rhythmically that they are the only ones who have made public the survey raw data. That’s correct. No survey agency of the world makes public the raw data because it is against the ethics of those conducting the survey. The question is, why hasn’t Yogendra Yadav, the ’sutradhar’ (facilitator/ stage manager) of this survey, made public the raw data in surveys for 20 years till now?
In this survey, there is something which it is essential to understand, and that is how a survey too can be twisted. Like, if you ask someone will Manmohan Singh go to jail for the coal scam? Mostly, people will reply ‘no’, because people will not believe that a Prime Minister can go to jail. If one asks the second question, that the rest of the UPA Ministers are also steeped in corruption, will they be sentenced or will they escape? Mostly people will say that they will be saved. Then if you ask the question whether corruption in the country will end, mostly people will say ‘no’. Corruption can never end. The whole country is corrupt. So the finding or result of this survey will come that the people of this country believe that corruption cannot be ended. Now let us adopt another method. If the question is asked whether like Laloo Yadav, other leaders also will go to jail in the matter of corruption, the people will say ‘yes’. This is only the beginning. Do you have faith in the Supreme Court and do you want that all corrupt leaders should be sent to jail? The answer to that too will be ‘yes’. After this if the question is asked whether corruption in the country will end, the people will say ‘yes’. It is quite possible to end corruption. The answer will be that corruption in the country can be ended. The way the Aam Aadmi Party has framed questions in the survey, it seems that purpose of this survey is to publicise the Aam Aadmi Party, because generally the questions are connected to the party and there are just one or two questions about the Congress and the BJP.
It was the BJP that first started the practice of conducting surveys of this kind. The BJP had an electoral survey done for the Lok Sabha elections in 1999, but not much importance was given to it at that time. But after the formation of the NDA Government and ever since Arun Jaitley Party came into the center of election strategizing, the importance of surveys increased in the BJP. But the BJP did not make its surveys public. The purpose of these surveys was to learn about ground realities. What are the issues? What is the mood of the people? What sort of a candidate should there be. What should be the method of publicity dissemination? It was to understand such important issues that surveys were conducted. Great importance was attached to such elections survey in making decisions connected with the elections. The thing to relish is that generally BJP surveys were proved wrong and many decisions taken on the basis of surveys proved to be wrong. Some have proved to be dangerous, due to which the BJP virtually lost a hand it has won.
It has been seen many times that the truth of a survey depends firstly on how honestly the field-worker carrying out the survey has worked. Did the field workers actually go the houses of the people? Did they ask questions properly or did they fill up the questionnaires any old way? Actually, the reality is that mostly surveys also prove to be wrong because often the field workers with the questionnaires do not go to the people at all. Making a group, these field workers go and sit in some hotel or restaurant, and fill up the questionnaire according to their calculations. They use their minds to ensure that the questionnaires may be filled up in such a manner, so that they don’t get caught. Therefore, instead of giving correct results surveys often create confusion. Agencies conducting surveys — Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University colleges and the Media Institute — use students who have experience of field work and research for this work. These students use this experience in filling up forms fictitiously. Now the question is that when questionnaires themselves are filled fictitiously, then the results of the survey are bound to be wrong. Now whether or not someone makes raw data public, it doesn’t make a difference.
The Aam Aadmi Party got this survey done through Cicero Associates. In this survey responses were obtained from 34,427 people. These people had been chosen from 1,750 polling booths in 70 assembly constituencies of Delhi. Of course, such a big sample is quite sufficient for Delhi. The Aam Aadmi Party claims that conversation with all the people covered in the survey was held sitting face to face in their homes and the survey was conducted between 5 September and 5 October. But this time those who were carrying out the survey took the name of Cicero Associates instead of Global Research and Analytics. They added that they have not come from or on behalf of any Government. Perhaps the leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party had realised their mistake that during the second survey they had violated decorum or a code of conduct. Therefore, in the third survey it has been removed. But still a question arises as to whether those who were carrying out the survey had gone as those who were not in the know? Were they party workers of the Aam Aadmi Party? Did they conduct the survey after wearing the cap of the Aam Aadmi Party ? It is essential to know this, because if they were party workers of the Aam Aadmi Party, this survey no longer makes any sense and becomes meaningless. We should then consider it to be a party’s method of publicity. That is because who is the person asking questions – on this too people’s replies change. This question is being raised because to those questions where the answers required were direct, almost 27 per cent of people did not give any view or opinion.
Anyway, there’s still quite some time for the elections. It is said about Delhi that in one day the entire state of affairs changes. The reason for this is that the election is very individualistic. The party has only a partial role. The candidates have to win the elections on their own. Let me relate something that can be relished. During the 2004 elections Atal Bihari Vajpayee was always ahead of others in the race for Prime Ministership. The votes are cast for the local MP or MLA. If that person is not popular, the party does not get votes. In India generally, when voting people look at the personality and background of the person who is in the running. Therefore, a survey conducted before the elections hold no meaning. In Delhi the Aam Aadmi Party has made the announcement of fielding the most candidates. The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have not yet declared their candidates. In both these parties, there are many strong and well grounded leaders. When the BJP and Congress candidates are declared, then an attempt at assessment can be made. Therefore, it can be said that one does not know who will be the candidates in Delhi; one does not know which will be the most important issue. What will be the campaign of which party that too is also not known; which leaders, film stars, players will come to Delhi to campaign and what effect they will have, that too is not known. Which party worker will do what, in which party there will be a rebellion, how many rebel candidates will stand for elections, what will be the impact of Anna Hazare’s and Ram Dev’s campaign and the most important thing, which party’s management will be like what, till now nobody knows. And these matters are such where the slightest default can change victory to defeat and defeat to victory. There is no impact on an election of a pre-election survey.
The Aam Aadmi Party has for the first time taken the support of surveys and made a new utilisation in election publicity.This should be seen only as a form of publicity. In any case, an electoral survey tells about past history. It cannot tell the future. That is true. If anybody makes the claim that the (future) outcome of an election can be foretold through a survey, then that person is deceiving the people. The thing to relish is that since many years, agencies that carry out surveys have been making fools of the political parties and of people. In India, there is no survey agency whose election prediction has not gone wrong. In 2004, all the surveys were making the NDA Government win with a large number of votes, but when the results came all the surveys were proved wrong. The country’s most well known and the country’s most trusted Yogendra Yadav’s surveys were mostly proved wrong. He has got Modi defeated several times in surveys. Jayalalitha has been defeated and Amarinder Singh has been made to win. When this is the condition of the most trusted, to talk of others would be dishonesty. What is meant to be said is that surveys on their own are not wrong or mistakes. It is a method, a means through which an estimate – just an estimate – can be made. The curiosity to understand and know the future is human nature, therefore, the surveys show democracy and an election atmosphere to be alive and well, but to make surveys a basis and declare someone elected would create doubts and confusion in the minds of people.