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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Saffron swamps the rest on the web

If the elections were conducted on the Internet, Narendra Modi would already be the prime minister of India and close to all states will be ruled by the BJP.

The digital Indian-Indians with access to the Internet, mobile and social media-is the most vocal section of our population. It has the means and the desire to make itself heard. Though still very small compared to the estimated 790 million voters in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, this section of Indians will have a rising influence on our elections-and politics.

To understand the size and nature of its influence, the India Today Group conducted the country's first virtual general elections, called e-lection. The public response was huge: over 5.56 lakh people cast their votes in the largest digital opinion poll. The poll was done online (on group websites) and through SMS in a foolproof manner.

The India Today Group was the first in the country to do opinion polls and mood of the nation polls.

The e-lection results

Here are the results of the poll, which will surprise you as much as they surprised us:

While offline surveys show a hung Parliament with Congress losing ground but BJP gaining only slightly, the online world is predominantly saffron.

Of the total 5,56,460 digital votes, the BJP secured a whopping 3,38,401 votes - constituting an enviable vote share of 60.81 per cent.

The Congress on the other hand was thoroughly rejected by the digital voters. The ruling party secured only 28,997 votes - less than the Haryana Janhit Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal! The party's vote share was a mere 5.21 per cent.

But overall votes don't tell the real story. The story is how BJP has organized the urban middle class into a force by appealing to their aspirations. The Congress has shifted focus to the hinterland by bringing in legislations that help the rural masses. In this the urban middle class, which is sizeable enough, has tilted towards BJP, because they believe BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi addresses their concern.
The internet users in India

According to estimates of internet users across the world provided by International Telecommunications Union, Geneva, for the year 2012, India ranked 164th among a total of 210 countries with 151 million Indians as internet users, in over 1 billion population.

With internet penetration of 12.6 per cent (US had 81%, UK 87% while Japan 79%), India was just above Gambia and Botswana in the list. The survey recognised internet users as persons using the internet in the last 12 months from any device, including mobile phones.

The digital Indian is a tiny minority and may impact, if any, only urban seats in the actual elections. But the virtual election results show that Congress needs to get its act together as this group also helps form opinion. In a battle of perceptions, Congress has been on the backfoot since Anna Hazare launched his campaign against corruption.

How far away these results are from reality on the ground? Well, for that we can look at how India voted in the last Lok Sabha polls.

In the 2009 general elections, the vote share of the Congress was 28.55 per cent and the BJP's was 18.80 per cent. The Left parties had secured 6.73 per cent votes followed by the BSP at 6.17 per cent.

In the 2004 general elections, the Congress' vote share was 26.53 per cent while that of the BJP was 22.16 per cent.

In 1999, when the NDA came to power, the BJP had 23.75 per cent vote share while the Congress won 28.30 per cent.

In the 1998 general elections, the Congress secured 25.82 per cent of the vote share and the BJP 25.59 per cent.

The e-lection results show BJP garnering as much as 60 per cent votes. The disconnect is that extreme.

The offline-online poll connect

In the India Today-CVoter Mood of the Nation opinion poll conducted as recently as in August this year, there were indications that the UPA could lose 122 seats from its current tally of 259 in the Lok Sabha. The e-lection shows how BJP supporters are more passionate in voicing their opinion online. The Congress, on the other hand, has been caught napping.

According to Internet and Mobile Association of India survey, social media will affect the outcome in 160 seats in the 2014 elections. A Google survey in October said about 42 per cent of online urban voters are still undecided whom to vote for. This means their vote can swing either way.

Though the support for the saffron party is the biggest and busiest in the digital and mobile space, there are significant others such as the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi. The new party secured 23,221 votes in the e-lection.

A small party like the Haryana Janhit Congress managed to keep its flag flying in the state because its leader Kuldeep Bishnoi keeps track of social media and the party has a strong online presence.

And that's what the Telugu Desam Party supporters have shown in Andhra Pradesh.

Here are the full state-wise results of the India Today E-lections:

Uttar Pradesh SP (2240)BSP(3342)BJP(75742)Congres...RLD (226)Don't w...87.1%
Total Votes Cast 87003
Punjab SAD(646)Congress(1363)BJP(4860)Don'twant tovote (704)18%64.2%
Total Votes Cast 7573
Haryana Congress(1650)INLD(31317)BJP (19...HJC (43...BSP (9...Don't w...32.1%44.3%20.2%
Total Votes Cast 97712
Delhi Congress(2894)BJP(28911)BSP(647)AAP (2...Don't w...41.3%51.4%
Total Votes Cast 56292
Jammu and Kashmir NationalConfere...Congress(133)PDP (57)BJP(2101)Don't w...87%
Total Votes Cast 2416
Uttarakhand Congress(558)BJP(8193)BSP (1...SP (35)UKD (54)Don't w...88.5%
Total Votes Cast 9254
Himachal Pradesh Congress(690)BJP(4890)HPLP(36)HVC (25)Don't w...83.4%
Total Votes Cast 5864
Chandigarh Congress(161)BJP(1297)Don'twant tovote (101)83.2%
Total Votes Cast 1559
Rajasthan Congress(3134)BJP(31522)Don'twant tovote (823)88.8%
Total Votes Cast 35479
Gujarat BJP(27181)Congress(2419)GPP(800)Don'twant tovote (442)88.1%
Total Votes Cast 30842
Maharashtra Congress(2966)ShivSena (4...NCP (7...BJP (33...MNS (3...Don't w...71.2%
Total Votes Cast 47633
Goa BJP (745)Congress(94)NCP (11)MGP (23)Don'twant tovote (34)82.1%
Total Votes Cast 907
Daman and Diu BJP (318)Congress(43)Don'twant tovote (10)85.7%
Total Votes Cast 371
Dadra and Nagar Hav...BJP(1057)Congress(57)Don'twant tovote (13)93.8%
Total Votes Cast 1127
Andhra Pradesh Congress(923)TDP(24985)YSRCP ...TRS (2...BJP (10...Don't w...23.3%53.1%
Total Votes Cast 47049
Karnataka Congress(1466)BJP(17743)JD-S(172)KJP (323)Don't w...87.3%
Total Votes Cast 20315
Kerala Congres...CPM-ledLDF (872)Don'twant tovote(1154)22.8%44%33.2%
Total Votes Cast 2625
Lakshadweep Congress(48)NCP (69)JD-U (23)Don'twant tovote (58)24.2%29.3%34.8%
Total Votes Cast 198
Puducherry Congress(24)AINRC(48)PMK (21)Don'twant tovote (62)15.5%31%40%
Total Votes Cast 155
Andaman and Nicoba...BJP (204)Congress(273)None (17)41.3%55.3%
Total Votes Cast 494
Tamil Nadu AIADMK(4347)DMK(638)DMDK(365)Congres...Don't w...21.4%60.1%
Total Votes Cast 7228
Madhya Pradesh BJP(23258)Congress(3079)BSP(480)Don'twant tovote (717)84.5%
Total Votes Cast 27534
Bihar JD-U(3252)RJD(1395)BJP (28...Congres...LJP (84)Don't w...82.5%
Total Votes Cast 34538
Jharkhand BJP(7229)JMM (80)Congress(473)JVM-P (...RJD (51)Don't w...86.5%
Total Votes Cast 8360
Chhattisgarh BJP(1431)Congress(267)BSP (50)Don'twant tovote (81)78.2%
Total Votes Cast 1829
West Bengal Trinam...Left Front(1416)Congress(629)Don'twant tovote(3185)33.9%40.2%17.9%
Total Votes Cast 7916
Odisha BJD(2561)Congress(497)BJP(5440)Don'twant tovote (244)29.3%62.2%
Total Votes Cast 8742
Tripura CPM(347)Congress(114)Don'twant tovote (107)18.8%20.1%61.1%
Total Votes Cast 568
Mizoram Congress(25)MNF (69)Don'twant tovote (61)16.1%39.4%44.5%
Total Votes Cast 155
Manipur Congress(40)MPP (94)PDA (20)Don'twant tovote (58)18.9%27.4%44.3%
Total Votes Cast 212
Nagaland NPF (60)Congress(21)Don'twant tovote (34)29.6%18.3%52.2%
Total Votes Cast 115
Meghalaya Congress(42)UDP (63)NCP (16)NPP (22)HSPDP(28)Don't w...18.5%27.8%24.7%
Total Votes Cast 227
Assam Congress(245)AGP(157)BJP (26...AIUDF (...BPF (24)Don't w...80.2%
Total Votes Cast 3323
Arunachal Pradesh Congress(31)BJP (482)PPA (8)Arunac...Trinam...Don'twant to ...82%
Total Votes Cast 588
Sikkim SDF (134)Congress(35)Don'twant tovote (88)34.2%52.1%
Total Votes Cast 257
Courtesy: India Today
Here are the results that will surprise you as much as they surprised us:


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