Telangana polls: Lagadapati Rajagopal survey predicts major loss for TRS; will results show proven psephologist wrong?

The exit polls are keeping many in Telangana on the edge of their seats, especially the party leaders of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi. This is because of the results of a particular survey and the belief the leaders in the state have put into that very survey for quite some time now. So what is this special conundrum in which the TRS finds itself before the results are declared?

The national surveys such as the Times Now-CNX survey are declaring that the TRS party will win a massive 60-plus seats, but the survey conducted by former Congress MP from Vijayawada Lagadapati Rajagopal, known as the 'Andhra Octopus', has something else to say.

What's the Andhra Octopus saying and why is it different from the national surveys? And why is it so important to the leaders of the state?

Rajagopal, who conducted the exit polls through his agency RG-Flash, has estimated that the TRS will get around 35 (plus or minus two) seats, with the Congress-TDP backed Mahakutami or securing nearly 65 (plus or minus two) seats to form government in Telangana. This prediction has left the political leaders of the state baffled. Rajagopal has a track record of being meticulously accurate with his survey results in the past, and it is this record that has left the TRS leaders concerned while leaving the TDP-Congress front with hope.

File image of Lagadapati Rajagopal. Screen grab from YouTube

File image of Lagadapati Rajagopal. Screen grab from YouTube

How accurate have Rajagopal's surveys been?

After quitting politics, Rajagopal turned into a psephologist with the setting-up of the RG-flash agency.

In 2014, the state election results were testimony to Rajagopal and his agency's accuracy. In the 2014 Telangana state elections, he predicted 60 (plus or minus two) seats for the TRS and the party secured 63 seats. He also estimated that the TDP-BJP alliance in Telangana would secure 18 to 22 seats, and the alliance ended up getting 20 seats.

In Andhra Pradesh, Rajagopal's agency predicted that the TDP-BJP alliance would secure around 115 to 125 seats, and ended up with 106 seats. Meanwhile, the national surveys had estimated that the YSR-CP would gain a majority of the seats and predicted that YS Jagan Mohan Reddy would be chief minister.

Even in the Nandyala by-elections last year, Rajagopal’s agency estimated the majority of votes would go to the TDP .

In the 2009 state elections in the erstwhile united Andhra Pradesh, he predicted 155 for the Congress and the results tallied with absolute accuracy.

In the 2010 by-elections and the 2011 Kadapa elections, he predicted that YSR would win the constituency with around four lakh votes, which all tallied accurately, establishing his track record in the state.

Rajagopal and his team conducted surveys even for the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation polls in 2005 and Gujarat Assembly polls in 2006. The only election result he failed to estimate accurately was the 2016 Tamil Nadu elections, where he predicted the DMK would come to power, but around 90 percent of the survey reports tallied with the actual results.

"The two parties (TRS and TDP-Congress) have allegedly spent copious amounts of cash in the districts of Telangana," said Rajagopal at a press meet, talking about the huge difference in the exit polls results and the confusion among the people and the leaders alike about whether the TRS will come to power again.

"I believe I have accurate estimates accurate because I know the political climate and since I speak the same language, I can understand the pulse of the people in the two states. So I do not depend on any other agency for the data," said Rajagopal.

The leaders of TRS are dismissing the reports by Rajagopal. K Chandrashekhar Rao, the party president of TRS and the caretaker chief minister for the state, reacting to the reports said, "I don't consider them as surveys, they're mere astrological predictions that are intended to disrupt the current order of things."

Reacting to the statements made by the leaders of the TRS party, Manda Krishna Madigan of the Mahajana Socialist Party (MSP), said, "The Rajagopal survey is deemed to be correct because it has accurately understood the pulse of the people. And it's surprising to see how the TRS party has changed its attitude towards Rajagopal's survey since the last elections."

Uttam Kumar Reddy, the President of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee, said, "This is a clear indication that the people of the state are tired of KCR's rule and demanding a change."

Amidst all these conflicting reports, Dr K. Nageshwara Rao, prominent political analyst in the state and professor at the Department of Communication and Journalism, Osmania University, said, "The relationship that Rajagopal has been trying to establish between voter turnout and elections results is not possible. Also, it's unethical on part of Rajagopal to estimate the elections results before the elections have taken place it has certainly influenced the voters. But according to my analysis, the Nalagonda-Khammam regions are strongholds for the Mahakutami, only then will it be possible for the grand alliance to come to power. So I think people should wait for the results on Tuesday."

Given his accuracy, the political leaders of the state are sceptical about the exit poll results that have been released by national agencies. Will Rajagopal be accurate with his findings yet again?

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Updated Date: Dec 10, 2018 18:48:04 IST

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