Rattled by the Modi juggernaut and the loss of Congress’ significance as the grand old party of India in the 2014 general elections and subsequent Assembly poll losses, Rahul Gandhi is analysing figures compiled by the party’s data analytics department regarding vote share, seats and shifting voting patterns since 2009 to strategise against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2019 Lok Sabha battle.The data analytics department earlier known as Computer Department of the All India Congress Committee-is headed by Wharton School alumnus Praveen Chakravarty, who was also associated with the Unique Identification Authority of India project.
The department’s first ‘achievement’ was when it ‘smelt a rat’ in the Madhya Pradesh Voter ID list claiming that its survey had discovered around 60 lakh fake cards. An analysis of the voter database revealed that there were several cases in which Voter ID cards contained several pictures of the same voter.Subsequently, a high-profile delegation comprising Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee president Kamal Nath, party’s campaign-in-charge in the state and former power minister (independent charge) Jyotiraditya Scindia and former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh complained to the state Election Commission, which ordered an investigation.The data team has suggested a bottom-to-top approach-booth level, block, Vidhan Sabha to Lok Sabha-to form a strategy to counter the BJP in 2019. An analysis of around 600 voters at booth level is an easier and better way to strategise for Battle Royale 2019.Data analysis also showed that the Congress fails to win seats in proportion to number of votes it wins. For example, party won 38 per cent of the votes but could manage to win only 78 seats. The analysis also showed how the BJP cleverly ‘shifted’ its votes on unwinnable seats-like in Old Mysore-to the Janata Dal (Secular) to counter the Congress.The analysis also questions the Congress strategy of backing a joint Opposition candidate on one seat. The BJP lost the Kairana by-poll only by 44,000 votes due to the shifting of 8 per cent Congress votes to the saffron party.The department mined and analysed data of every by-poll, Assembly polls and general elections since 2009, which showed like the Congress shrunk from 206 Lok Sabha seats in 2009 to 44 in 2014, the BJP could fall from 201 seats currently to 160 in 2019.
Arun Jaitley turns fact-checker after Rahul tears into BJP in MandsaurAccording to the data team, there could be scenarios in 2019-direct fight between the Congress and the National Democratic Alliance, the Congress is a bigger partner in an Opposition grand alliance and where it is a smaller partner in the alliance. The party will bag 120 seats in the first two scenarios while it will win only 20 in the third case.