VK Bajaj forecast 291 seats for the BJP with an error margin of 14, and 340 for the NDA
When VK Bajaj’s Today’s Chanakya came out with its exit poll results, many sniggered at the numbers as preposterous. The pollster had predicted 291 seats for the BJP with a margin of 14 seats, and 340 for the NDA – a forecast that has turned out to be true. Anuradha Prasad of channel News 24, who has been collaborating with Bajaj since 2009, said she was taken aback initially by the exit poll. “We were going live with the predictions as they came in. Even we thought at the channel that it seemed too much, but I chose to go ahead with it as I have always taken him seriously,” Prasad told ET. He has been getting his numbers right since 2009. Today’s Chanakya was the only one that accurately gauged the mood in Delhi during the December assembly polls, predicting 31 seats for newbie Aam Aadmi Party, which ended with 28.
Bajaj landed in Delhi after having done his masters in international business management. He joined as the chief executive of Today’s Chanakya, the political analysis arm of RNB Research, and ventured into psephology with the 2004 elections.
“He was trying to break into the league dominated by big names. Nobody used to take him seriously,” said a pollster from a rival agency.
Now that he has been getting his predictions right, there is a lot of interest in the methodology he uses. “He never shares his methodology,” said Prasad. “All we know is that his sample base for the elections this time was 40,000.”
His methodology apparently comprises faceto-face interviews, pen-andpaper questionnaires and “mystery shopping”, a tool usually used in market research that does not reveal to the respondent that he or she is being interviewed for a poll.
Bajaj did not respond to an email from ET. He prefers to keep a low profile, said Prasad.
Bajaj has been getting his numbers right since 2009. Today’s Chanakya was the only one that accurately gauged the mood in Delhi during the December state polls