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Awful projections by exit polls and media pundits raise EVM Tampering concerns

 

The track record of exit pollsters in predicting Lok Sabha elections was remarkable until 1999 in India. My own projections for successive Lok Sabha elections in 1996, 1998 and 1999 for the Times of India were spot on. (Refer Table 1)  Similarly, my projections for the assembly elections to Uttar Pradesh (2007), Gujarat (2007), Madhya Pradesh (2008) published in the MINT newspaper were also spot on.

It is therefore natural to ask why Indian pollsters in general (and that includes my own predictions) and media pundits in particular have failed to read the voter mood correctly in the 2009 and 2004 Lok Sabha elections when they were able to do so very accurately until 1999? (Refer Tables 2 and 3)

Is there something esoteric and mysterious in the fact that the only two parliamentary elections in India’s parliamentary history, where the pollsters in general have gone horribly wrong, were totally ‘electronic’ elections in which electronic voting machines (EVMs) were used all over the country? Are the electronic voting machines responsible for the jerky election outcomes in Indian elections? Do EVMs constitute the enigmatic ‘X factor’ in Indian elections?

 TABLE 1: GVLN Rao’s EXIT POLL PREDICTIONS vs. ACTUAL RESULTS (1996, 1998, 1999)

LS ELECTION  ALLIANCE PROJECTION ACTUAL
1996 BJP+ 188 189
Congress+ 142 132
Others 212 215
1998 BJP+ 252 252
Congress+ 140 147
Others 145 138
1999 BJP+ 287 298
Congress+ 174 135
Others 77 105
  • Poll prediction by G.V.L. Narasimha Rao for Times of India/ Doordarshan; Source: Indian Elections in Nineties by GVL Narasimha Rao and K. Balakrishnan (Published, 1999)

 

TABLE 2:EXIT POLL PROJECTIONS: LOK SABHA ELECTION, 2009
 

TV NETWORK

 

TOTAL

 

BJP+

 

CONGRESS+

 

Others

Star News 543 198 202 143
NDTV 543 177 216 150
CNN-IBN (First) 543 175 195 173
CNN-IBN (Final) 543 188 218 137
Times Now* 543 183 198 162
 

ACTUAL RESULTS

ALL INDIA 543 159 263 121

* Political Assessment

TABLE 3:EXIT POLL PROJECTIONS: LOK SABHA ELECTION, 2004
TV NETWORK TOTAL BJP+ CONGRESS+ Others
Sahara Samay 543 270 176 97
Star News 543 270 181 92
Aaj Tak 543 248 189 106
Zee News 543 249 176 118
NDTV 543 240 197 106
 

ACTUAL RESULTS

ALL INDIA 543 185 217 141

In any country, these doubts should warrant a serious examination and study of election results. But our EVMs do not offer any such facility as we have no verifiable, credible proof of voting in elections. The Election Commission of India says that the electronic record of the votes cast is stored in the memory. If somebody were to tamper the EVM, even the electronic data can be manipulated. It is due to this reason we have been demanding physical record of voting.

Do make an assessment for yourself if the results of elections warrant a closer scrutiny and examination. Lest I am not accused of party bias, let me make it clear that I am raising the issue in a non-partisan manner. I am questioning the efficacy of the technology per se and the possibility of its misuse by unscrupulous individuals, irrespective of any political affiliation.

To explore the reliability and accuracy of EVMs, the only way left was to validate the reported election results with the personal verbal accounts of the voters. For this purpose, we set out for an empirical study in about 50 polling stations where a single candidate had secured almost all the votes or a huge majority of them. This study was undertaken within two months after the Lok Sabha election results were declared in May 16., 2009.

Results of our investigation were quite revealing and shocking. I will post the details of this exercise in my future posts.

I can be contacted at nrao@indianEVM.com

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 at 1:10 PM and is filed under EVM Vulnerabilities. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Awful projections by exit polls and media pundits raise EVM Tampering concerns”

  1. murali Says:

    Regarding exit poll surveys, i would like to add that one telugu news channel predicted accurately in 2009 assembly elections in andhra pradesh. That is NTV news channel which has been always pro congress(ysr). I heard that the channel headed by one mr narendra chowdary also has shares of congress ex minister from ap mr. shabbir ali. I dont know how far it is true. The accurate exit poll projections by NTV makes me believe that evms can be tampered. Otherwise how can that channel project that much accurately? Evms are tampered and the result leaked to NTV channel i believe.

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