How authentic is Kautilya survey?

By Sandesh Prabhudesai
16 August 2016 22:09 IST

The Kautilya Teertha pre-election survey has shocked everybody. Even those who conducted it claim they are surprised with the result. They claim to have covered all the 40 seats and around 2000 voters in each constituency. Almost 10% sample. That’s huge compared to any other sample survey. The survey was conducted during a span of 120 days, from April to July. This is the time when election mood was gripping the minds, but not fully. The picture is also not clear on many counts, like how may parties would be actually in the fray, which party would align with whom and who would be the candidates.

The ruling BJP is just warming up, MGP is still undecided about the alliance, Congress busy with its preliminary round of listing out interested candidates,   Babush Monseratte is yet to form his party and Vijai Sardesai (and Rohan Khaunte?) is yet to join the Goa Forward. The only party working full swing on the field is the Aam Aadmi Party. In short, it’s an open field survey where permutations and combinations are yet to emerge. These factors do matter in Goa, where the electoral size of each seat is around 20,000 and even an independent polling around 500 to 1000 votes can upset prospects of a popular candidate.

The survey is contradictory and confusing. It reduces the BJP count by 10 seats, from today’s 21 to mere 11, placing it in the second position. Still, people’s most popular chief ministerial choice is Manohar Parrikar. The MGP gains only 3 more, raising its number to mere 6, not even a double digit, but still Sudin Dhawalikar is the second choice. Congress is being reduced from 9 to 7, still Digambar Kamat is number three choice for the CM’s post. The Aam Aadmi Party is the single largest party with 14, but no popular choice from this party. This does not mean the survey is faulty, but perhaps the voter has not crystallised his or her opinion.

NO CONSTITUENCY BREAK-UP

The survey has thrown some figures of party’s voting percentage and the seats they would win. The break-up doesn’t go beyond two districts. At the most we can understand that AAP would win 10 seats in the South and only 4 in the North. But the surveyors have not provided the crucial information: which these constituencies are. The survey has divided the districts into 20 Assembly segments each, of the 2 Lok Sabha seats, with Priol falling in the North district.

It is a fact that AAP has intruded in Salcete and parts of Mormugao talukas to the grassroot level. It is also a fact that neither BJP nor the MGP has any considerable base in most of the 8 seats of Salcete and 4 seats of Mormugao talukas, except 4 to 5. In spite of strong anti-Congress and pro-BJP wave in 2012, the BJP could win only Cuncolim in Salcete, that too because of the split of votes between Congressman Joaquim Alemao and independent John Monteiro. In fact sitting MLA Damu Naik lost Fatorda to independent Vijai Sardesai.

It is quite likely that the Saxttikar voter – largely Christian – may choose yet another alternative to the Congress, Goa Vikas Party or independents. It could be AAP or Goa Forward. But the survey doesn’t talk of GF. Even Fatorda, I am told, is given back to Independent Vijai, not considering him as GF leader. The 10-seat AAP figure could thus get divided between these two if Goa Forward emerges an equally powerful alternative to the Congress.

But the survey also does not specify which 4 seats Congress would win. Right now, it has only 4 seats in the South – Digambar Kamat (Fatorda), Alex Reginald Lourenco (Curtorim), Mauvin Godinho (Dabolim) and Babu Kavalekar (Quepem). Mauvin is shifting to the BJP. Then which is the additional seat Congress would win this time? The survey must tell us.

Similar is the case of the BJP. It has 9 MLAs today in the South. The survey reduces it to mere 3. It is thus right of a voter to know which 6 seats the ruling saffron brigade would lose and to whom. Because it is just not 10-seat AAP but also one more seat to the MGP the survey has predicted in the South Goa district. Presently, it has only Ponda and Madkai in Ponda taluka.

Similar is a hazy picture in the North the incomplete survey information has created. Instead of existing 12 seats, the survey states the BJP would win only 8 seats. The ruling party continues getting major share of 42% votes in this district of 20 seats, but reduces the party to single digit. 7-seat Bardez had played major role in raising BJP’s count to 21 by winning 6 seats in this taluka, except Porvorim. It gained both the seats in Pedne, 2 out of 3 in Bicholim and 2 out of 5 in Tiswadi. The survey does not specify which seats the BJP would lose.

AAP gains only 4 seats in the North while the MGP wins total 3, which means 2 more than existing Priol. The Congress also reduces from 5 to 3. The major gain for the Congress last time was both the seats of Sattari taluka by Rane father-son and St Cruz-Taleigao by Monseratte husband-wife, besides Pandurang Madkaikar in Cumbarjua. Which are the two seats the Congress would lose now?

The constituency-wise break-up is thus a must to authenticate the survey.

WHAT’S THE BASIS OF CM CHOICE?

Regarding the chief ministerial candidate, it appears that Kautilya had provided 10 names to the voter, with an option to suggest the 11th person of their choice. But none of these are officially projected as the chief ministerial candidate by any party. The question thus arises: Is it fair on the part of Kautilya to throw 10 names of ‘their choice’ to the voter and limit their options? Because normally in such circumstances, when CM candidates are not announced or projected, the choice is left wide open to the voter.

Suggesting names of ex-MLA Damu Naik of BJP and government official Elvis Gomes also does not sound logical. Kautilya says Damu’s name was suggested  considering his performance in the last Assembly during 2007-12. But he has never acted even as a minister, unlike Laxmikant Parsekar or Rajendra Arlekar. And Elvis Gomes has now even resigned from his job or has officially announced that he would enter the fray.

In that case, a question arises, why Dr Oscar Rebello’s name was not chosen among 10 when AAP emerges the single largest party with 14 seats and 35% vote share? He is officially AAP since Lok Sabha election, a state level figure and a star attraction for any AAP public meetings.

And the most interesting part of the survey was that the voter was given two choices for CM’s post. One with Manohar Parrikar and another without Parrikar. On what ground the Kautilya presumed, even before the survey, that Parrikar would be the most popular choice? And is it fair to conduct a survey by influencing the voter in such a manner?

Precisely because of this, some people call it Parrikar-sponsored survey. But in that case, why more seats to AAP and 10 less to the BJP? To create fear about AAP and bring back Parrikar? Can Parrikar become the CM by taking a big risk of creating hype about AAP?

And then another observation: it’s AAP-sponsored. If so, why not a single name of AAP being projected for CM’s candidate? Even Elvis Gomes (rumoured to have been joining the AAP) is included for his administrative capabilities. Also he is last in the list, with hardly 6% choosing him for CM’s post.

But if the survey is genuine, then Kautilya should not hold the trump cards close to their chest and confuse the voter by not giving break-up of constituencies. They need to place before the voter all the findings of the survey including the whole Questionnaire. Also they should not influence the voter by suggesting names which are neither officially announced nor held CM’s position in the past. That would simply result into the voter outrightly rejecting the survey, calling it Not Authentic!

Blogger's Profile

Sandesh Prabhudesai

Sandesh Prabhudesai is a journalist, presently the Editor of goanews.com, Goa's oldest exclusive news website since 1996. He has earlier worked as the Editor-in-Chief of HCN and Prudent, Goa's TV channels and Editor of Sunaparant, besides working as a reporter for Goan and national dailies & weeklies in English and Marathi since 1987. He also reports for the BBC. He is also actively involved in literary and cultural activities.

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