This is in response to Shivam Vij’s article on the Lokniti-CSDS pre-poll survey in Bihar (IE, 7Oct. 2015) and his surmise that we have “drawn the wrong conclusion” from our survey data. While anyone is free to interpret the published data and draw their own conclusions from it (and we could well be wrong), we would like to clarify that if we take Bihar as a whole, the NDA was definitely ahead of the Grand Alliance by four percentage points as per the survey data and at the time of the survey.
The details in which Vij goes could well be relevant to the question of conversion of votes to seats and indeed that is what we mention as the conclusion—not as something ‘buried in the caveats’ as he alleges– where we say that “the figure of 42 per cent can be misleading in the sense that those votes may not necessarily add further to the seats the NDA may win.”
Regarding the EBC vote, nowhere does our article make the claim that the EBCs are divided 50-50 as Vij claims. The statement that “almost half of lower OBCs support the NDA” does not mean that the other half is with the Grand Alliance. The rest of the EBC vote is fragmented among the various other parties, candidates and the Grand Alliance. Statistics apart, the political question is: why is it that the parties claiming Mandal legacy and harping on OBC constituency fail to get handsome share of OBC vote as a whole? This election in Bihar is about that failure more than anything else.
As to his claim that ground reality is different from survey data, we can only say that this is a somewhat inadmissible comparison—comparison between impressions of someone and opinions collected through a systematic exercise.
Regarding Vij’s claim that the headline was changed, all we can say is that that is the prerogative of the newspaper and the headline suggested by us was not what The Indian Express chose to publish.
(Sanjay Kumar is Director of Centre for the Study of Developing Societies; Suhas Palshikar is the Co-Director of the Lokniti programme at CSDS and teaches Political Science at the Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune)
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