Psephologist Premchand Palety
Psephologist Premchand Palety 

INTERVIEW | There is chance I.N.D.I.A may form next govt: Psephologist Premchand Palety

Bansy Kalappa

Psephologist Premchand Palety, founder of C-Fore -- a premier agency that conducts election surveys, speaks to Bansy Kalappa of TNIE about the Lok Sabha elections. He said, “It may be speculative, but there is a chance of the I.N.D.I.A bloc forming the next government.”

Some say a multiphase poll like this could favour the ruling party, whose biggest campaigner is PM Modi...

Modi is the main vote catcher for BJP. Such multi-phase polls will facilitate his campaigning and also help in deploying resources.

The share market has seen a big correction. The satta market that gave the ruling party 340 seats earlier has brought it down to 280...

Share/satta markets are speculative. They also depend on the feedback from pollsters. Most pollsters conducting actual field surveys feel that for BJP, the going is not as rosy as it was projected about a month ago.

The PM is raking up communally divisive issues like ghuspetiyan and is speaking about the opposition receiving black money from Adanis and Ambanis...

This shows he is nervous. Maybe he got the exit poll reports that are not favourable for BJP. Last election, Pulwama/Balakot helped BJP. Since there is no such issue this election, the BJP would like to create some religious polarisation.

How do you see Karnataka polls going?

This election, I haven’t done any survey in Karnataka. But I can sense that Congress will do much better than the previous election. There is now a clear North-South divide. Many South Indian voters perceive the BJP as biased against the South.

How have the four phases of voting gone? Is Modi a lesser factor in this election?

In the four phases so far, the feedback is that BJP will lose some seats and there is a possibility that NDA could end up below the majority mark. Unemployment and inflation are major voter concerns. Many voters also do not like the dictator-like attitude of the present leadership and select targeting of politicians. This may impact Modi’s image.

Any key states we should focus on?

The states that can change BJP’s fortune are Karnataka, Telangana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, UP and Bihar.

How big has been the impact of Siddaramaiah’s five guarantees and the pen drive allegation against JDS-BJP MP candidate Prajwal Revanna?

Siddaramaiah’s five guarantees have had a positive impact on Congress. If Congress does well in the state that could be one of the main reasons. Had Prajwal’s case come out a few days earlier that would have had a major impact in the first phase in the Old Mysuru region. This will have some impact in the second phase.

Maharashtra has been seen as a key swing state. There is talk of a possible sympathy wave in favour of both Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena and Sharad Pawar’s NCP...

Yes, there seems to be a sympathy wave in favour of both Uddhav and Pawar. This could help I.N.D.I.A improve its tally significantly in the state.

How big a dent can the RJD-Congress alliance make in Bihar?

Tejashwi Yadav had a big impact in Bihar. At the same time, Nitish Kumar’s image has taken a big hit. He is being seen as an opportunist. His party could lose many seats.

What about Rajasthan?

Many voters in Rajasthan are not happy with the choice of chief minister. This could affect BJP’s prospects.

What about UP?

In most states, including UP, socially disadvantaged sections perceive BJP as an upper-caste and upper-class party. Farmers are also unhappy.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah predicted Telangana would yield 10-12 seats and Andhra Pradesh 17-18 seats. He expected the BJP to open its account in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. He believes BJP will become the biggest party in the South...

Not necessarily. Remember the last time when Pulwama/Balakot happened. Big swings can happen.

What are your indications from West Bengal?

BJP could get its tally close to the last election.

Who could be nearer to the 272-273 mark?

It would be speculative, but there is a chance of I.N.D.I.A forming the next government.

The full interview can be watched on the TNIE YouTube channel