Art of predicting poll result

I have always admired NDTV’s Prannoy Roy in his role as a psephologist. I have a great regard for his ability to foretell which party will win an election, spelling out logical reasons for the same. In practically every election, he is able to decipher the bellwether constituencies.

While in Dhaka in November 2018, a month prior to Bangladesh’s eventful December election, I fancied myself as a psephologist and made it a point to visit the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in Dhanmondi, the residence of the founding father and the first President of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, where he spent most of his life and led Bangladesh’s struggle for independence, before a group of renegade military officers assassinated him and almost his entire family.

On that day, the Museum was besieged with people, with hardly any free space. At the entrance, near the Sheikh’s portrait, they recited the poem about his life and that the legend would remain alive forever in the hearts of the people till the rivers Padma, Meghna, Jamuna and Gauri continued to flow. With veneration, they went to the drawing and the reading rooms of the Bangabandhu, where he had drafted and released the declaration of Independence.

They reverentially filed past the stairs with blood stains on the windows, and a painting of a bullet-riddled Bangabandhu, poignant reminders of the brutality of the violence and memories of that gruesome episode. The sight of the bedrooms of the father of the nation, and his daughter drew loud exclamations of sorrow. There was considerable waiting time to make an entry into the “Book of Mourning”, to express one’s outrage at the barbaric incident and to express  solidarity with the people of Bangladesh.

Empathising with the visitors and their outpouring of grief, at the memorial museum that November day, no-one needed any clear-sighted forecasting ability to predict a ground swell of support for the Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina in the December elections. Admirably, she had other credentials too, she had presided over an economic expansion with a consistent 6% growth since 2009, helped Bangladesh emerge as the second largest exporter of ready made apparels in the world and transformed the country into a middle-income nation.

In hindsight, juxtaposing the outpouring of emotions that day with the eventual election results where the ruling Awami League-led coalition won a landslide victory in Bangladesh’s general elections giving Sheikh Hasina her fourth term as prime minister, was easily decipherable and did not require any psephological talent whatsoever. Her coalition winning 288 out of the 300 seats was actually a no brainer!

There always is a glaring clue staring you in the eye, that has to be recognised! Feeling like an expert, I look forward to “India’s General Election 2019” to test my psephological skills!

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Art of predicting poll result

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