Anger against MP govt higher than R'sthan: Chakravarty

Anger against MP govt higher than R'sthan: Chakravarty

Praveen Chakravarty, Chairman of the AICC Data Analytics Department

For investment banker-turned-politician, Praveen Chakravarty studying diverse data sets has been a passion. As Chairman of the AICC Data Analytics Department, he has turned his research focus on providing inputs to political decision-making.

Chakravarty told Deccan Herald's Sagar Kulkarni that the Congress will win an outright majority in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh, and the campaign against Rafale deal had struck a chord with the voters.

How is data analytics changing the way elections are fought?

First, data analytics is not just for elections. At least in the Congress party, data analytics is for decision making. The decision could be anything – what issues to pick up, the decision could be what should be our alliance strategy. The decision could be which seats should we focus on The decision could be who should be our candidates As a political party we have to make decisions all the time.

So far, decision-making was based on opinions of very experienced, senior leaders. With data analytics department, there is now one more input. An objective, data-based input. We are not the only determinant of a decision, but we are one more input. If it was just for elections, we could have just hired some agency.

What kind of decisions has been taken with inputs from the data analytics department?

Telangana, should we align with the TDP or not. Our inputs were taken for this decision. Last week, we asked 1.2 lakh people from Telangana on who should be their candidate for their respective Vidhan Sabha seats.

What does your analysis tell us about poll-bound states?

I have got more than five lakh responses from these four states. In Madhya Pradesh, the anger against the incumbent government is twice as high as it is in Rajasthan.

Does this mean you have greater chances of winning Madhya Pradesh than Rajasthan?

I can tell you by constituency, by village, by caste, by age group, by urban-rural where the anger is and how we can tap into it. How we can convert them into votes is for the senior political leaders who have the experience.

What about Chhatisgarh and Rajasthan?

In Chhatisgarh, the issues are largely around social justice. Largely about atrocities on SC/STs. Very few people realise that the Congress did better in Chhatisgarh in 2014 in the Modi wave elections than in 2013 Assembly polls. In 2013, the gap was less than one per cent, in 2014 the gap became even narrower.

In Rajasthan, the issues are very, very clear. It is all about distress among large rural areas. Unemployment is a massive issue. The anger is very, very palpable. So, in my view, it would be very surprising if we do not win these three states with an outright majority.

How is the response to the Rafale campaign?

I am constantly measuring two things — awareness of Rafale and the perception of Rafale. The awareness of Rafale is growing rapidly. According to my survey, more than half of the people have heard about Rafale scam. The more important is that those who have heard about this scam — 75% believe that the Modi government colluded with a private industrialist and there is a scam here. That is very clear.

Do you see anyone national issue that is shaping up?

A national issue that is coming up is more against the Centre that there has been a betrayal. ‘Yeh dhokha diya hai’. In that sentiment – bahut bola, bahut baat kiya, bahut drama kiya, bewkoof banaya (he talked a lot, did a lot of drama, but betrayed). That seems to be a general sentiment.

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