Posts Tagged ‘Suvarna News’

POLL 2013: Can the Karnataka polls go wrong?

6 April 2013

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PALINI R. SWAMY writes from Bangalore:  The pre-monsoon showers are bringing relief from the summer heat but the escalating political heat is showing no signs of abating in Karnataka.

A month is left in the poll calendar for the completion of voting. It was only yesterday that the major parties, Congress, BJP and JD (S) released their first list of candidates. But that hasn’t stopped the media from already getting into the prediction business.

Consider this. While we know that BJP’s path to reelection is filled with obstacles and the election fundamentals appear to favour the Congress at the moment, we do not know much about the micro factors and other such variables, which determine election results.

# We do not know the full slate of candidates in each constituency.

# We do not know the caste calculations particularly how a specific candidate might take away votes from others.

# We do not know the expenditure threshold (the upper limit of money to be spent) of a given candidate.

# We do not know about variables such as migrant workers who are away in cities seeking work because of drought.

So, what determines the elections then is who has a better ground game, as the American psephologists say.

For example, consider the case of migrant workers who have gone to Bangalore, Mysore, Poona or any one of the cities seeking employment.

We are already hearing reports of agents who will verify the voters list, compile the names and mobile numbers of those who are away for employment, contact them, provide them with the right incentives and bring them back to their native place the before the elections and get them to vote.

All this for a fee. This is an election management issue and the ones who have actually booked the most efficient agents will have an edge in a massively competitive election.

Still the Suvarna News– CFore survey and the Headlines Today-C-Voter survey predict a substantial victory for Congress.

To be sure, if you ask any competent follower of Karnataka politics, he will quite possibly reach the same conclusions as both these polls. Thus Congress will probably secure 100-125 seats, whereas BJP might win in 55-70 constituencies, with JD (S) coming third, winning 30-45 seats. Others might get 20-30 seats.

So what’s the value of these polls? You tell us.

If you want to get fairly reliable election prediction, ask the bookies who run betting syndicates. But as the early reports indicate even there betting seems to be focusing more on who actually might get tickets and so on.

That should tell us elections are far off. And the factors that determine the elections aren’t set yet.

The summer is about to get hotter despite the occasional showers.

***

THE POLLS SO FAR

Suvarna News-Cfore (April): Congress 115-127 out of 224; BJP 50-60; JD(S) 25-35

Headlines Today-C-Voter (March): Congress 114-122, BJP 48-56, JD(S) 32-38, KJP 10-14

Tehelka-C-Voter (January): Congress 133, BJP 63, JD(S) 19, KJP 5

Suvarna News-CFore (Decamber 2012): Congress 113, BJP 58, JD(S) 31, KJP 14

Also read: POLL 2013: Has A. Ramdas not supplied ‘henda‘? 

Will Narendra Modi lead the BJP campaign in Karnataka?

Kannada Prabha owner among top political donors

11 September 2012

Mobile phone turned media baron and member of Parliament, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, continues to be a prominent donor to the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, according to a list compiled by the asociation for democratic reforms (ADR).

Chandrasekhar, an independent member of the Rajya Sabha elected with BJP support, who owns the Malayalam news channel Asianet News and the Kannada news channel Suvarna News besides the Kannada daily Kannada Prabha, donated Rs 10 crore to the BJP in 2009-10 through two Corporation Bank cheques issued in the name of Asianet V Holding Pvt Ltd (address: Jay Chambers,  Service Road, Mumbai).

Simultaneously, Asianet TV Holdings Pvt Ltd operating from an identical address (address: Jay Chambers, service road, Vile Parle, Mumbai 400057) donated Rs 2.5 crore to the Congress in 2009-10 through a Corporation Bank (M.G. Road, Bangalore) cheque.

The general electoral trust of  salt-to-cellphone major Tatas, the Gujarat power company Torrent and Bharati electoral trust of the telecom company Airtel top the list of donors. The documents were procured by ADR under the right to information (RTI).

Also read: Media baron donates most to parties after Birlas

Everybody loves to claim credit for the 2G expose

10 media barons in India Today power list of 50

One law for man, another for our Godmen?

10 June 2012

B.S.NAGARAJ writes from Bangalore: Watching the sensational developments in Swami Nithyananda‘s “ashram” over the last couple of days and his “escape” to an undisclosed location, you wouldn’t be wrong in concluding that there is a republic within the republic of India.

And that republic is less than an hour away from Bangalore in a town called Bidadi.

Here the laws of India don’t apply. Just like the Vatican. You and me have to seek an appointment to get inside. Government officials have to wait at the gates before they are escorted in through the various layers of security by Nithyananda’s minions.

Yesterday when a scuffle broke out between Nithyananda’s thugs who call themselves brahmacharis and brahmacharins and a few Kannada activists who went there for a press conference posing as journalists, the police were forced to register a case.

Nithyananda was named accused no.1.

The police go there reluctantly looking for him. A couple of hours later, the DC and SP emerge from inside to say they don’t know where NIthyananda is but add they have advised his associates that it is better for him to return to the ashram only “after the storm dies down.”

So, did they facilitate his escape?

More than 60 hours later, there is still no word on Nithyananda’s whereabouts. But a minister, as well as the DC and SP, are said to have called on him at a resort nearby where he has taken refuge, even while they continuing to say with a straight face that that they are not aware where the self-proclaimed God-incarnate is.

Meanwhile, one news channel carries on with its relentless coverage of the horror that is Nithyananda. Claiming to be victims of his sexual exploitation, people recount the gory details of the abuse to which they were subjected to by Nithyananda and his gang on Suvarna television.

Parents of victimised young men and women weep.

There is a welter of support and sympathy for the victims from viewers, many phoning in from the US, Singapore, Poland, Dubai, etc. Angry protesters burn his effigies across the state, demanding that he be externed to Tamil Nadu, his home state.

The government is unmoved. Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda is busy signing MoUs with investors in Bangalore. Home Minister R.Ashok and Law Minister Suresh Kumar make some feeble noises about taking action.

Little else.

On the other hand, the government moves in quickly to quell any potential violence during a planned protest march in Bidadi on Sunday by taking custody of many activists this evening.

Curiously, most newspapers and television channels are pretending as if what’s happening in Bidadi isn’t news-worthy. Reportage of Nithyananda-related events, if at all, is cursory. Opposition political parties are no better either in their response.

Other religious heads, save a few, don’t appear to be bothered. One mutt head has the gall to say that Nithyananda, whose devotees list include actors Malavika Avinash and Juhi Chawla, is the target of a conspiracy.

Ditto for pro-Hindutva outfits.

Not a murmur from our rent-a-quote intellectuals either. No Ananthamurthy, no Bhyrappa, no Girish Karnad, no Devanooru, no Rajkumar fans’ association.

The leading lights of the IT industry who have an opinion about everything in the IT capital may think it is none of their business, though many of the sex swami’s victims are sterling techies.

A few weeks back, the Sadananda Gowda government took control of the 15th century Sosale Vyasaraja Mutt in Mysore on the charge that the pontiff was misusing mutt property for personal benefit.

No tears need be shed for Sosale but if the government is sitting ostrich-like over far serious charges against Nithyananda, there is surely room for suspecting its motives.

Victims have told the channel that the swami used to brainwash them into believing that he was God, and that having sex with him would enlighten them. Apart from sexual battery and physical violence, they have charged the “Paramahamsa” of keeping them in the ashram against their wishes, making them part with their money, and much else.

Also read: Just vonne one question I want to ask Ranjitha

How to launch a Kannada channel for Rs 25 cr

17 May 2012

On the New York Times site India Ink, Raksha Kumar writes on how the Kannada news channel Public TV got launched:

“I got these lights for just 40 rupees each (76 US cents) when Wipro closed one of its branches in Bangalore,” said H.R. Ranganath, chairman and managing director, pointing at the ceiling.

“These cubicles, which my reporters and editors use, were bought from a shut-down office of Kingfisher,’’ he added, while doors were purchased from a Siemens branch that closed….

“We bought the cameras we use for 200,000 rupees each,” said Shashi Deshpande, facilities manager at Public TV. “Each of them would have cost us one million or more if purchased new.”

“According to Mr Ranganath, the cost of starting up a regional television news channel in Karnataka is anywhere from 45 to 50 crores, or 450 million to 500 million rupees ($8.5 million to $9.4 million). He figured that if he could cut capital and operational costs at least in half, then he would be able to build a network without any outside financial help.”

Photograph: courtesy The New York Times

Also read: Editor declares assets, liabilities on live TV

Is there room for another Kannada news channel?

This is your chief minister and here is the news

How Kannada news channels hit back at lawyers

3 March 2012

After the free-for-all in the Bangalore courts on Friday, in which lawyers took the law into their own hands, clobbering reporters, stoning OB vans, etc, all the 24×7 Kannada news channels—TV9, Suvarna News, Udaya News, Janashri, Samaya, Public TV, News 24—blacked out their screens for two minutes at 8 pm and ran a uniform message registering their protest.

The message read:

“We strongly protest the violence unleashed on journalists by lawyers.”

Photograph: courtesy Vishwatma Bhat

Public TV head declares assets on live television

27 February 2012

Even as a question mark hangs over the heads of many editors and journalists, H.R. Ranganath, the chairman and managing director of the newly launched Kannada news channel, Public TV, has declared his assets and liabilities on live television, with his tax consultant sitting alongside him and reading out the list.

Ranganath—former editor of the New Indian Express owned daily Kannada Prabha and the Rajeev Chandrasekhar owned news channel Suvarna News—says he provided the list of his assets and liabilities to his proprietors at his previous ports of call each year, but was only now putting it in the public domain.

Any piece of property over and above those listed by him can be auctioned and the proceeds used for public use, declares Ranganath.

The editor’s assets, as read out by his tax consultant of 15 years, Vijay Rajesh:

# A gift from his mother of four guntas of land in Arkalgud, Hassan

# 1991-92: Partnership in a plot of 13,980 square feet in Mysore

# 2002-03: A house constructed on a 30×40 site in Bangalore

# 2005: A Hyundai Accent car bought on loan

# 2009: A Honda Activa scooter

# 2011: A second-hand 1975 jeep bought last year

# 11,000 shares in Mindtree, 12 shares in Reliance Industries, 15 shares in Kairon

# 250 grams of gold belonging to his wife, 100 grams gifted at the time of marriage, the rest bought over the last 20 years.

Also readIncome, outgo, assets, liabilities, profit, loss

Aditya Nigam‘Editors and senior journalists must declare assets’

***

Is there room for another Kannada news channel?

This is your chief minister and here is the news

This is your chief minister, and here is the news

12 February 2012

Karnataka chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda inaugurates the Kannada news channel, Public TV, in Bangalore on Sunday by reading a news item from a laptop computer. The channel is headed by H.R. Ranganath, the son of a southern railway employee in Mysore, who rose to be editor of Kannada Prabha and Suvarna News.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: Is there space for another Kannada news channel?

Why news of porn video didn’t reach Athani

9 February 2012

A battle royale has broken out between the two leading Kannada news channels over who broke the porn video scandal, involving ministers in the BJP’s “gateway to the south”, Karnataka.

Market leader TV9 ran a news item on its 9 pm primetime news show on Wednesday, complete with a visual of its head honcho, Mahendra Mishra. The news item contained an interview with its cameraman in the legislature who caught the ministers prying into their cellphones, and who then sent off an SMS to the reporter, Laxman Hoogar.

Not to be outdone, the Rajeev Chandrasekhar owned Suvarna News claimed it was the first with the story.

All evening it ran news of the scandal with mnemonics and a “super” shouting “Naave First” (we were first). Its news item had one of the errant ministers referring to a Suvarna News reporter by name, which the channel played in a loop as to validate its claim.

All this breast-beating comes a day ahead of the launch of another news channel, Public TV, to be edited by former Suvarna News head, H.R. Ranganath.

More importantly, The Times of India reports that one of the three ministers caught with his pants down, Laxman Savadi, ensured that visuals of his watching the porn visuals was blacked out in his constituency, Athani, by ordering that electricity be cut off.

No newspaper of any language reached the town as most bundles were booked and purchased by his supporters en route.

Image: courtesy The Times of India

Also read: One more claimant for 2G spectrum scam

Everybody loves (to claim credit for) an expose

Times Now. Times Now. Times Now. Times Now.

Is there space for another Kannada news channel?

25 January 2012

On paper, the media market in Karnataka is not the largest of the four southern States. The conventional wisdom is that unlike Andhra Pradesh, we do not have as many eyeballs; unlike Tamil Nadu, we do not have as many urban centres; unlike Kerala, we do not have a booming retail market; and unlike all three, we do not have deep pockets.

But the reality is slightly different.

Karnataka has more newspapers and as many news channels as the biggest of the four States. To the existing stampede of TV news channels—TV9, Udaya News, Suvarna News, Kasturi News, Janashree and Samaya—one more will be added tomorrow, when former Kannada Prabha and Suvarna News editor H.R. Ranganath‘s Public TV goes on air.

Question: is there space for one more Kannada news channel?

Photograph: A hoarding for the soon-to-be-launched Public TV on Cunningham Road in Bangalore (Karnataka Photo News)

5 lessons Bollywood can learn from ‘Paramathma’

11 October 2011

PRASHANT KRISHNAMURTHY writes from Bangalore: As a film goer seriously allergic to the hype that accompanies Bollywood tripe, I approached the latest Kannada release Paramathma with plenty of trepidation.

For, the Puneet Rajkumar-starrer directed by Yograj Bhat seemed to suffer from an overdose of promotion that sends alert antennas up.

For more than a month before the movie’s release last Friday, the director, the “power star”, the music composer (V. Harikrishna) and the actresses (Deepa Sannidhi and Aindrita Ray) were happily plugging away on channel after TV channel, no questions asked.

On the basis of a few visuals made available to them, the news channels dropped all sense of disbelief and pumped up the film as if Bhat had made a modern-day version of Citizen Kane or The Godfather.

There were specials ad nauseam on “The making of Paramathma“. Bhat and Puneet spent one whole half-hour urging a TV film reporter (Ghoshal of TV9) to get married, and then spent another episode pulling Deepa’s legs (on Suvarna News).

Then to top it all, in a Bunty aur Babli moment, Bhat read the 9 pm news to “promote” the film.

It’s the kind of over-promotion that can cause nausea among the faint-hearted. And it’s the kind of over-promotion that will always have a mismatch in the expectation to delivery ratio (especially if you haven’t seen either Yograj Bhat’s or Puneet Rajkumar’s work before, as I hadn’t).

But, guess what, Paramathma turned to be mighty enjoyable and total paisa-vasool. It was the kind of mainstream Kannada film that should make Kannadigas feel proud especially given the kind of reasons Sandalwood has been making news lately.

1) The big reason Paramathma worked for me was that it was clean, which is really saying something these days. The story, the language, the comedy, the sets, the costumes, almost everything bears a stamp of on decency of the vanishing kind, almost bringing a tear to sore Kannada eyes.

2) Paramathma isn’t vulgar like most modern films feel they are entitled to be to get the cash registers ringing. None of those curvy mid-riffs on display. No raunchy item numbers with clothes held up by hope. No two-bit actresses thrusting their pelvis at you. And no crass, double-meaning dialogues in the comedy scenes that the likes of Rangayana Raghu are notorious for.

3) For a movie coming in the era of Singham and Force and Bodyguard, the surprising thing about Paramathma is the manner in which it eschews violence of the sort that south Indian cinema is now synonymous for. No machchu, no laangu. No vehicles rising up in thin air. No thundering dialogues uttered by the glowering star. And no torsos flying around.

4) Arguably, Kannada cinema now churns out the best music in India and Paramathma shows why. Jayant Kaikini‘s word wizardry (see YouTube video, above) stands out. But it is the “Kannada Rap” from Bhat and Harikrishna in two hit songs (Collegeu gate alli and Kathlalli karadige) that shows how well the American music form has been brilliantly incorporated to mirror local angst.

5) And, above all, Paramathma stands out for me because although it is an urban, urbane film of the SMS-internet era, it beautifully manages to give a feel of the rural and the rustic without banking on the feudal, retrograde and melodramatic elements that have become the hallmarks of Indian cinema trying to give the desi feel.

It isn’t as if Yograj Bhat and Puneet Rajkumar have come up with Casablanca or Ran. Far from it. Paramathma has its share of weaknesses, like over-romanticising academic failure; like needlessly employing Bollywood singers; like a rather wooden Kannadiga heroine (Deepa Sannidhi) who has only two expressions, a smile or a scowl.

Still, for a mainstream Kannada film to rise above abysmally low Sandalwood and Bollywood benchmarks and come up trumps (despite a trafic ending) is no small achievement. And M/s Bhat, Puneet, Harikrishna & Co can go to bed satisfied that even on a working day, the morning and matinee shows in the malls are running houseful.

Also read: At last, a ‘different’ film that’s actually different

Not if it will fly high, but how high it will fly

 ‘Bollywood: India’s most moronic cultural export’

‘Bollywood’s a scam. Farah Khan is a big, fat con’

Adoor: Do only Bollywood beauties possess glamour?

Mammootty: Is Hindi cinema Indian cinema?

So, who is the chief minister of Karnataka?

17 September 2011

Every now and then, typically on a slow news day, a news story emerges, usually filed by the agencies, of a village in the back of beyond, generally in the cow belt, which still thinks Indira Gandhi is still the prime minister of India.

You could put that down to all the stereotypes: lack of literacy, lack of reading culture, etc.

You could even say it would not happen in the parts of India.

Well, think again. In this YouTube video, a Suvarna News reporter does a Jay Leno, going around asking a very dumb question: Who is the chief minister of Karnataka? The vox-pop produces results that should leave us wondering about the “wisdom of the voter.”

Of course, in half-serious shows like these, the correct answers are edited out to accentuate the effect, but even so you are left wondering if more is really merrier; in the sense just because there is a lot of media creating a lot of noise, does it leave us all wiser?

Vishweshwar Bhat is now Suvarna News editor

1 July 2011

Kannada Prabha, the Kannada daily established by Ramnath Goenka, has a new owner from today, 1 July 2011: mobile phone baron turned businessman and member of Parliament, Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

Chandrasekhar’s Jupiter Media & Entertainment Ventures  began the creeping acquisition of Kannada Prabha, valued at Rs 250 crore, through a “strategic business alliance” with Kannada Prabha Publications in March 2010.

The stake transfer is now complete, according to sources in the know, although neither side has issued a formal communication yet on the extent or completion of the acquistion.

The purchase of the paper means Chandrasekhar now has a Kannada newspaper and a Kannada news channel in his armoury in Bangalore. No other Kannada paper or channel has cross-media ownership.

Former Vijaya Karnataka editor, Vishweshwar Bhat, who was appointed editor-in-chief of Kannada Prabha in February, is slated to take simultaneous control of the Suvarna News 24×7 channel, as group editor, becoming the first Kannada journalist to have a foot in both the print and electronia media.

Kannada Prabha, which has occupied the landmark Express building on Queen’s Road in Bangalore, will move to a new premises in October which it will share with Suvarna News.

File photograph: Make-up men work on Kannada Prabha editor Vishweshwar Bhat for a television commercial for Suvarna News in April.

Guess what I bought my girlfriend on Feb 14?

24 February 2011

Ordinary mortals buy roses for their beau on Valentine’s Day. Sons of the soil buy TV news channels.

Well, that’s what Bangalore Mirror, the tabloid from The Times of India stable is reporting.

Former Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, son of the former prime minister and “humble farmer” H.D. Deve Gowda, already runs a general entertainment channel called Kasturi through his legislator-wife Anitha Kumaraswamy.

HDK is now reported to have bought the struggling 24×7 Kannada news channel, Samaya, for Rs 60 crore, as a “gift” for chhoti memsaab, the former movie actress Radhika.

Kumaraswamy told Bangalore Mirror, “Samaya channel is up for sale, and I am in talks with its owner. We still have not completed the deal.”

When we asked the ex-CM whether he was buying the channel for Radhika, he guffawed and hung up.

Kumaraswamy, a former film producer, no longer makes the pretence of keeping his relationship with the actress secret. The two have appeared as a “couple” in religious ceremonies.

Kasturi channel has already begun running “Coming Soon” promos of its news channel—tentatively titled Newz24. The rumour is that a former print journalist reported to be close to Kumaraswamy and currently heading a news channel is likely to take charge of the news channel operations.

Samaya, launched by Congress MLA Satish Jharkiholi, has been struggling since launch. Former Suvarna News editor Shashidhar Bhat recently joined the channel but what happens to him under the new owner will be breaking news.

The change of ownership of Samaya is only the latest evidence of a massive shakeup in Kannada media in which big money, with the tint of politics and business, is beginning to shape the public discourse in Karnataka like never before, no questions asked.

The shakeup has already seen Vijaya Karnataka editor Vishweshwar Bhat join Kannada Prabha and Suvarna News editor Ravi Hegde join Udaya Vani. (Both Kannada Prabha and Suvarna News will soon come under a common owner, the “independent” member of Parliament, Rajeev Chandrasekhar who has an affinity for the BJP.)

Last week, tourism minister N. Janardhana Reddy—one of the infamous Reddy brothers—recently launched a news channel called JanaSri.

Link via H.B. Kumar

Read the full article: HDK is buying a news channel for his party—and for Radhika

Image: courtesy Bangalore Mirror

Also read: Everyone is naked in the chief minister’s hamaam

One question I’m dying to ask H.D. Kumaraswamy—I

One question I’m dying to ask H.D. Kumaraswamy—II

Ratan Tata’s open letter to Rajeev Chandrasekhar

9 December 2010

Generally speaking, Indian business is a nice, cosy club of stuffed shirts and suspenders. There are a set of rules and everyone plays along happily. No one ever says anything new. No one speaks out of turn. No one ever throws a flame into someone else’s pants. There is a code of Omerta, and everybody better stick with it.

Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the former BPL scion who owns the Suvarna network in Karnataka, stepped out of line with an open letter to Ratan Tata, the chairman of Tata Sons, who had propitiously chose the Niira Radia moment to warn of India slipping and becoming a banana republic.

Now, Tata has hit back at Chandrasekhar in a return letter, slamming the latter’s self-righteous sanctimony. A politically motivated Chandrasekhar, Tata implies, has been running with the telecom hares and hunting with the telecom hounds, and stops just short of calling him a lousy liar.

If nothing else, the two open letters provide a snapshot of how Indian business and politics is conducted (and how Indian media is managed), and underline the fact that nothing illuminating comes out when everything is hunky-dory. It is conflict between two stones that produces fire and light.

***

Dear Rajeev

I am currently overseas and have just seen a copy of the open letter you have addressed to me with copies to the entire media community. This is of course in keeping with the current trend of attempted character assassination through widespread media publicity couched in pain and concern for upholding ethics and values.

Your letter is based on untruths and distortion of facts and I feel compelled to place the real facts, as bluntly as possible before you. I hope this will also be broadly disseminated to the same audience as your letter.

I am, of course, well aware that some media house will choose not to publish or air my response in deference of their owners, who are the real gainers in the telecom sector, with whom you have unfortunately aligned to provide a massive diversion of attention away from the real culprits in the telecom space.

***

You will appreciate that the Government’s stated telecom policy of 1999 set out the principles of a technology neutral environment. When cellular mobile telephony was introduced, the first set of operators, including yourself, chose GSM, the broadly used European technology at that time.

The first set of cellular mobile operators received their licenses based on the auction process in circles for which some of them and their partners submitted very high bids. Later in July 1999, in a BJP-led NDA government, in accordance with the recommendation of a group of ministers headed by Jaswant Singh, the fixed license fee regime was changed to a revenue share regime (which exists even today).

If a hypothetical amount was to be calculated, similar to one which has been done in the CAG report, at that point of time, the loss to the exchequer would be about Rs 50,000 crore and the exchequer would have been deprived of this amount.

Realistically, however, the revenue share system would have recouped some amount over time and this important change most probably has been responsible for the greater growth of the industry as it enabled tariffs to be reduced.

***

CDMA technology (a newer and more spectrum-efficient technology), was utilised by some operators for fixed wireless operations such as PCOs and for last mile wireless connectivity for fixed line phones.

The first attempted deviation of stated policy was in January 2001 when the then telecom minister, Ram Vilas Paswan, in a BJP-led NDA government, sought to allow the fixed wireless application of CDMA for limited mobility on the grounds that it would be available to the public at a lower price.

The GSM operators led by you mounted a campaign lobbying against this on the grounds that it would be unfair to the incumbents who had made investments and who had enjoyed first mover advantage.

You will recall that you and Nusli Wadia [of Bombay Dyeing] approached me in the Chambers in Taj Mumbai in July 2002 to sign an appeal to the Prime Minister, A. B. Vajpayee, deputy prime minister, L.K. Advani and finance minister Jaswant Singh not to allow fixed mobile service providers to provide mobile services.

I enclose a copy of your fax dated July 12, 2002 requesting me to sign and the draft letter which I was supposed to sign. In para 2 of this letter your objective amongst other things was to reach 50 million subscriber base by 2006.

To refresh your memory, I enclose a copy of the letter dated August 16,2002, that I wrote to you expressing my inability to sign such letter as it would block the introduction of CDMA technology and I believed that the telecom industry needed to be technology-neutral but what I agreed with you was that any new operator should pay the same fee as the incumbents so that all operators were equalized and that no one was disadvantaged.

As a result of a technology-agnostic policy we achieved more than 100 million subscribers in 2006 and to 700 million. I am also enclosing a copy of my letter to Vajpayee dated January 12, 2001, which I advocated an open, transparent process giving all parties a chance to be head—a stance that I have not changed till date.

This had angered you and other operators who were not interested in a level playing field and lobbied aggressively through COAI to ensure that a technology-agnostic environment would not come to pass.

It is obvious that an industry driven by technology cannot confine itself to a single technology only because that was the technology employed by a handful of operators who deprived early-mover advantage, enjoyed high ARPUs and in fact thwarted new admittedly more efficient technology like CDMA.

China, Korea and even the US have built their large subscriber numbers on the utilization of both CDMA and GSM technologies. Growth could have been far greater had incumbent operators like yourself risen above their self-interest of protesting their investment and allowing the existence of all technologies on an equal footing.

However, in pursuance of the spirit of NTP 1999, the Government did indeed implement the technology neutral policy in November 2003.  The minister involved was Arun Shourie in the same BJP-led NDA government under Vajpayee.

This was implemented through the creation of the UASL regime which enabled existing license holders to migrate to UASL license providing freedom of choice of technology and where a pan-India license could be obtained for a fee of about Rs. 1,650 crore, the same fee paid by the successful fourth cellular mobile operator.

Shourie needs to be commended in implementing this far sighted policy, which has enabled technology to be the driver of the industry, rather than technology protected growth.

***

I will now briefly touch on the points you raised regarding Tata Teleservices (TTSL) and the alleged advantage they gained. I have requested TTSL to address those issues in greater detail to you directly.

# On the issue of various allegations you have made on the so called benefits gained by TTSL, so called out-of-turn allotment that you claim have been given by DoT, you have chosen to misrepresent the facts as they suit you to justify the claims you have made.

The true position is that TTSL has not, I repeat not, been advantaged in any way by A. Raja or any earlier Minister.

The company has strictly followed the applicable policy and has been severely disadvantaged, as you are well aware, by certain powerful politically connected operators who have wilfully subverted policy under various telecom ministers which has subsequently been regularized to their advantage.

The same operators continue to subvert policy: have even paid fees for spectrum, even before the announcement of a policy, and have “de-facto ownership” in several new telecom enterprises. Licenses were granted to several ineligible applicants. Several licenses have spectrum in excess of their entitlement as per license conditions and not on the self-styled capacity spectrum efficiency that you have chosen to mention.

This is the smoke screen that I am referring to as these subverters of government policy continue to do so to their advantage and their acts are being ignored or condoned.

TTSL, on the other hand, an existing licensee, applied for spectrum under the dual technology policy after the policy was announced on October 19th , 2007 and is still awaiting allotment of spectrum in Delhi and 39 key districts for about three years whereas operators who applied, and paid the fee even before the policy announcement, were not only considered ahead in line but were allotted spectrum with amazing alacrity in January 2008 itself.

I am surprised that you have chosen to sidestep this very important aspect.

#  The investment by NTT DoCoMo in TTSL was not based on a zero-base valuation, like others, but was based on the performance of the company with 38 million subscribers, pan-India presence of network, offices, channel, turnover of Rs 6,000 crore, 60,000 km of fibre, and the potential growth of the company. The valuations are on the bases of a due diligence and service evaluation of the company’s service quality by DoCoMo.

#  On the question of hoarding of spectrum to which I have referred, you will no doubt remember that in 2005 I made an issue of the fact that spectrum was a scarce resource and needed to be paid for rather than given fee as was being proposed. The government policy entitled operators to no more than 6.2 MHz on the bases of their license conditions.

All additional spectrum should have been returned or paid for. Even TRAI has recommended this July 2010. I believed that TTSL was the only operator that returned spectrum when demanded by DoT. The CAG report clearly indicates which of the powerful GSM operators are holding spectrum beyond their entitlement free of cost to the detriment of the other operators.

# On the question of many disadvantaged new applicants who have supposedly been denied license in 2007, you are well aware that many of the applicants were proxy shareholders in high places, and were applying to enter the sector with a view of monetize the license once received.Even those that were granted license and spectrum have failed to effect any meaningful rollout of service.

Strangely, you have chosen to ignore this fact and singled out TTSL, who have, in fact, put in place a network supporting 82 million subscribers, despite the fact that they have been deprived of spectrum in Delhi and 39 key districts over the past 3 years as mentioned earlier.

How could you or anybody possibly consider this to be a beneficial situation of TTSL?

***

Let me address the question of the Tatas’ need for an external PR service provider. Ten years ago, Tatas found themselves under attack in a media campaign to defame the ethics and value systems of the group which held it apart from others in India.

The campaign was instituted and sustained through an unholy nexus between certain corporates and the media through selected journalists.

As Tatas did not enjoy any such “captive connections” in this environment, the Tata Group, had no option but to seek an external agency focused at projecting its point of view in the media and countering the misinformation and vested interest viewpoints which were being expressed.

Vaishnavi was commissioned for this purpose and has operated effectively since 2001. You yourself have interacted with Niira Radia on some occasions in the past and it is therefore amazing that you should now, after nearly nine years, seek to denounce Tatas’ appointment of Vaishnavi.

Also, the statement regarding Tatas employing [ex-TRAI chairman] Pradip Baijal is completely false.

Vaishnavi is neither owned by the Tata Group nor is the Tata Group Vaishnavi’s only client. Baijal, whom you apparently have a dislike for, is a part of Noesis, (an affiliate or Vaishnavi in which Tatas have no ownership) and, as facts will show, on various occasions has differed with the Tata Group during his period in office and has not advocated or influenced Telecom policy for the Tata Group in any way.

***

You and many others have focused your attention on Ms. Radia as a corporate lobbyist. I would like to draw your attention to the following

# You parked yourself at the Taj Mahal Hotel Delhi, for several months since 2002 which was the centre of operations for your to prevent entry of WLL Limited Mobility and CDMA as well as to interact with the polity and bureaucracy and with other operators to forge telecom policy of your choice. You did this in your own capacity as also as President of COAI.

# Your also constantly solicited support of Confederation of India Industry (CII).

Would you not consider this as an endeavour to influence or subvert policy? To influence politicians or solicit support from selected corporates? I take it that in your view this would not constitute lobbying.

Your affiliating with a particular political party is well known and it appears that their political aspirations and their endeavour to embarrass the Prime Minister and the ruling party may well have been the motivation behind your letter and the insinuations which you make.

We should all note that many of the flip flops in the telecom policy occurred during the BJP regime.

Whatever may be said, it must be recognised that the recent policy broke the powerful cartel which had been holding back competition and delaying implementation of policies not to their liking, such as growth of CDMA technologies, new GSM entrants, revision in subscriber based spectrum allocation norms, and now even number portability.

You yourself have publicly commended in November 2007 such initiatives and the minister for breaking the cartel and reducing the cost of service to the customer.

The 2G scam ostensibly revolved around Raja‘s alleged misdeeds and some parts of the CAG report were quoted as having indicted the minister.

Much has been made about the hypothetical loss to the exchequer in the grant of new licenses and the grant of spectrum on the basis of 3G auction prices, (which were not known or even foreseen at the time of granting such licenses and spectrum).

However, the media and even you have chosen to ignore the rest of the CAG report in which excess possession of spectrum, the disadvantages to TTSL by name, the irregularity in allotment of licenses to most players whose applications were ineligible to be considered in the first place have been clearly stated in detail.

You have also not noticed that the CAG has not ascribed value to 48 new GSM licenses issued to incumbents between 2004-08 and 65 MHz of additional spectrum allotted to incumbents during this period even though the CAG was supposed to cover the period from 2003. It would have been widely reported.

I support the ongoing investigations and believe that the period of investigation be extended to 2001 for the nation to know the real beneficiaries of the ad hoc policy-making and implementation.

***

Finally, you have chosen to lecture me on the responsibilities of upholding the ethics and values which the Tata Group has honoured and adhered to through the years.

I can say categorically that we have not wavered in upholding our values and ethical standards despite the erosion in the ethical fabric in the country and despite the efforts of others to draw us into controversy and endeavour to besmirch our record.

When the present sensational smokescreen dies down, as it will, and the true facts emerge, it will be for the people of India to determine who are the culprits that enjoy political patronage and protection and who actually subvert policy and who have dual standards.

I can hold my head high and say that neither the Tata Group or I have at any time been involved in any of these misdeeds.

The selective reporting and your own selective focus appear to be diversionary actions to deflect attention away from the real issue which plagues the telecom industry, in the interest of a few powerful politically connected operators.

Perhaps it is time that you and members of the media do some introspection and soul searching as to whether you have been serving your masters or serving the general public at large.

With warm regards

Yours sincerely

Ratan N. Tata

***

Also read: To: Ratan Tata. From Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Has Ratan Tata ruined the Tatas’ brand image?

‘Go to bed knowing you haven’t succumbed’

Bangalore journos named in site allotment scam

27 November 2010

It’s raining scams across the country—and the media is increasingly getting caught in the downpour with its pants down. In just the last few weeks, newspapers, magazines and TV stations have stood accused of conflict of interest, outright plagiarism, questionable business practices, and equally questionable journalistic practices.

In the backdrop of the Adarsh scam in Bombay which claimed the head of Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, the preferential allotment of vacant plots and houses to media houses and mavens as a form of favouritism, if not subtle bribery, has drawn attention too.

Last week, in Tehelka magazine, the BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad raised the issue of media houses pontificating on ethics while sitting on land leased at one rupee (yes, Re 1).

Hundreds of plots around the country have been given to big media houses in Delhi, Noida and Greater Noida on Re. 1 lease. What about them? If you want to raise a question on discretionary quota, then please check every allotment.

In its latest issue, Tehelka runs a cover story titled “Land Scam 2.0“, in which it carries a “partial list” of Karnataka journalists who have been allotted expensive house plots in Bangalore under the controversial “G” category of the chief minister. And if the buzz is to be believed, one of those on the list has already had to pay a price for his apparent indiscretion with his job.

If Ashok Chavan’s relatives and B.S. Yediyurappa‘s could return their allotments after being caught, will the journalists?

Screenshot: courtesy Tehelka

Also read: ‘Media houses are sitting on plots leased at Re 1′

And finally, who is giving each party how much

23 May 2008

All the electronic voting machines have been sealed in the Karnataka Elections—and so are the fates of all the opinion polls, exit polls, pre-poll surveys, post-poll surveys, and table-top surveys. This, then, is how it all looks.

BJP winning battle of opinion polls, hands down

22 May 2008

As the third and final phase of polling gets underway, two new pre-poll surveys are available for inspection.

# The first done by C-Fore for Suvarna News and aired on Monday night, says BJP will 96-106 seats out of 224, Congress 73-83 seats, and JDS 32-38.

# The second done by Development and Research Services for INX News says BJP will get 120 seats, followed by Congress 49, and JDS 42.

The sample size, the methodology, and the dates of the survey, all key requirements in reporting opinion polls, are not known. An NDTV exit poll, aired on May 16 after the second phase of polling, too had predicted that the BJP would come to power if the trend continued.

NDTV EXIT POLL: BJP en route to forming govt.

16 May 2008

An exit poll of the second phase of the elections held today conducted by NDTV says the BJP will get betweeen 32-42 seats, Congress 15-20, JDS 8-12. If the trend continues, Prannoy Roy says the BJP may be able to form the government on its own. The fieldwork for this poll was done by IMRB in 22 constituencies with a sample size of 9,447.

However, another exit poll conducted for Suvarna News, New Indian Express and Kannada Prabha, says BJP will walk away with 35 of the 66 seats which went to the polls, followed by Congress with 20, JDS with 8 seats, others 3. The exit poll was conducted by C-Fore in 50 constituencies and the sample size was around 7,000. By its reckoning, it’s going to be neck and neck between Congress and BJP.

The C-Fore poll says:

# In Hyderabad-Karnataka, of the 13 seats, the BJP will get 7 seats, Congress 3, JDS 2, others 1.

# In central Karnataka, of the 32 seats, BJP will get 14 seats, Congress will get 10, JDS 6, others 2.

# In coastal Karnataka, of the 21 seats, BJP will get 14 seats, Congress 7.

An NDTV exit poll of the 89 seats in the first phase of elections had predicted BJP will get 31 seats, JDS 30, and Congress 23. Together with the second exit poll, the BJP will end up with 63-73 seats, Congress 38-43 seats, and JDS  38-42 seats. Which means, of the 69 seats that go to the polls in the third and final phase of polling, the BJP will have to bag a minimum of 41-51 seats to form a  government on its own.

A C-Fore exit poll of the 89 seats in the first phase had predicted 39-42 seats for the Congress, 24-27 for the BJP, 20-23 for the JDS. Read together, the BJP will end up with 61 seats from the first two phases, Congress with 60, and JDS with 29. Which means, of the 69 seats that go to polls in the third and final phase of polling, the BJP will have to bag a minimum of 53 and the Congress with 54 each to form a government on their own.

CHURUMURI POLL: BJP 31, CONGRESS 26, JDS 9

15 May 2008

R. KANNAN and S.S. KARNADSHA write: Voters in 66 constituencies in 10 districts go to the polls tomorrow in the second phase of the elections to the Karnataka Assembly. And churumuri.com is pleased to offer its second, amateur, grassroots survey of how it is likely to turn out for the parties.

Our short term reading: BJP 31, Congress, 26, JDS 9.

Our medium term prediction: It’s going to be a hung assembly.

Like in the first churumuri.com survey (see full methodology below), we travelled to at least one constituency in six of the 10 districts going to the polls tomorrow. For the other districts, we relied on a variety of sources over the telephone, and also took into account media reports.

Unlike other opinion polls and pre-poll surveys, which only give a random seat count, we pinpoint the likely winners in each of the 66 constituencies.

Among our key findings are:

# It is going to be 50-50 for the Congress and the BJP in the communally hot coastal districts despite Narendra Modi‘s campaign, and a CNN-IBN-CSDS-Deccan Herald finding.

# B.S. Yediyurappa looks more likely to overcome S. Bangarappa in the battle of former chief ministers in Shikaripura despite Congress and JDS not putting up candidates.

# M.P. Prakash the former deputy chief minister, who hopped over to the Congress from JDS is likely to be trounced in Harapanahalli.

# Mine baron Anil Lad is unlikely to break the stranglehold of the Reddy brothers in Bellary city despite his jump to the Congress and Diwakar Babu‘s return to the party.

# M.P. Renukacharya is set to return to the assembly from Honnali despite the scandal surrounding his involvement in the nurse Jayalakshmi.

By our reckoning, after the first two phases of polling, the Congress will end up with 67 seats, the BJP with 52, and JDS 30. The half-way mark in the 224-member Karnataka assembly is 114. Which means of the remaining 69 seats in the third and final phase of polling, the Congress will have to bag 47 and the BJP 62 to form a government on their own.

Which also means JDS, which has 30 seats from the first two phases by our count, will again play a very key role in the formation of the next government, as predicted by H.D. Deve Gowda. Either one of the two big parties will have to swallow its pride and tie up with it again, or there will have to be defections en masse from the JDS ranks.

Only Suvarna News (through C-Fore) has conducted an exit poll of the first phase and a pre-poll survey of the second phase. By C-Fore’s reckoning, Congress will end up with between 59-67 seats, BJP 60-66, and JDS 25-31 at the end of the two phases of polling. By that count, Congress have have to bag 47 of the remaining 69, and BJP 44.

Statistically, anything is possible, but how likely?

***

CHITRADURGA: Congress 4, JDS 2

Chitradurga: Congress, G.H. Tippa Reddy
Hosadurga: Congress, B.G. Govindappa
Hiriyur: JDS, D. Yashodhara
Challakere (ST): Congress, Sashikumar
Molkalmuru (ST): JDS, G.M. Tippeswamy
Holalkere (SC): Congress, H Anjaneya

***

BELLARY: Congress 3, BJP 6

Bellary (ST): BJP, B Sriramulu
Hadagali (SC): Congress, P.T. Parameshwara Naik
Hagaribommanahalli (SC): BJP, Nemiraj Naik
Vijayanagar: Congress, H.R. Gaviappa
Sandur (ST): Congress, E. Tukaram
Siraguppa (ST): BJP, M.S. Somalingappa
Bellary city: BJP, G. Somashekara Reddy
Kampli (ST): BJP, T.H. Suresh Babu
Kudligi (ST): BJP, B. Nagendra

***

DAVANAGERE: Congress 3, BJP 5

Jagalur (ST): BJP, H.P. Rajesh
Harapanahalli: BJP, G. Karunakara Reddy
Honnali: BJP, M.P. Renukacharya
Davangere North: BJP, H.A. Ravindranath
Davangere South: Congress, Shamanur Shivashankarappa
Mayakonda (SC): BJP, Basava Raja Naik
Harihar: Congress, Dr. Y. Nagappa
Chennagiri: Congress, Vadnal Rajanna

***

SHIMOGA: Congress 3, BJP 3, JD(S) 1

Shimoga rural (SC): Congress, Kariyanna
Shimoga: BJP, K.S. Eswarappa
Bhadravathi: JDS, Appaji M.J.
Soraba: Congress, Kumar Bangarappa
Tirthahalli: BJP , Araga Gnanedra
Shikaripura : BJP, B.S. Yediyurappa
Sagar: Congress, Kagodu Thimmappa

***

CHIKMAGALUR: BJP 4, JDS 1

Sringeri: BJP, D.N. Jeevaraj
Moodigere (SC): BJP, M.P. Kumaraswamy
Chikmagalur : BJP , C.T. Ravi
Tarikere: JDS, H. Omkarappa
Kadur: BJP, Dr. Vishwanath

***

UTTARA KANNADA: Congress 3; BJP 3

Haliyal: Congress, R.V. Deshpande
Kumta: BJP, Sashibhooshan Hegde
Karwar: Congress, Anand Asnotikar
Bhatkal: Congress, J.D. Naik
Sirsi: BJP, Vishweshwara Hegde
Yellapur: BJP, Veerabhadra Gowda Patil

***

DAKSHINA KANNADA: BJP 4, Congress 3, JDS 1

Belthangady: Congress, Vasanth Bangera
Moodabidiri : JDS, K. Amaranatha Shetty
Mangalore City North: BJP , Krishna Palemar
Mangalore City South: BJP, N. Yogeesh Bhat
Mangalore: Congress, U.T. Khader
Bantwal: BJP, Nagaraja Shetty
Puttur: Congress, Bondala Jaganatha Shetty
Sullia (SC): BJP , S. Angara

***

UDUPI: Congress 2, BJP 3

Baindur: BJP, K. Lakshminarayana
Kundapura: Congress, K. Jayaprakash Hegde
Udupi: BJP, Raghupathi Bhat
Kapu: Congress, Vasanth Saliyan
Karkala: BJP, V. Sunil Kumar

***

RAICHUR: Congress 3, BJP 1, JDS 3

Raichur rural (ST): JDS, Raja Rangappa Naik
Raichur: BJP, A. Papa Reddy
Manvi: Congress (ST), G. Hampaiah
Devdurga (ST): JDS, Shivana Gowda
Maski (ST): Congress, Timappa
Lingasagur (SC): JDS, T.L. Naik
Sindhanur: Congress, Hampanagouda Badarli

***

KOPPAL: Congress 2, BJP 2, JDS 1

Kushtagi: Congress, Amaregouda Byappur
Gangavati: JDS, Iqbal Ansari
Yelaburga: Congress, Basavaraj Rayareddy
Kanakagiri (SC): BJP, Shamanna Hulagappa Narinala
Koppal: BJP, Andanappa Agadi

***

METHODOLOGY: How did we crunch these numbers?

1. We went to at least one constituency in six of the 10 districts.

2. We studied the voting pattern of each constituency since 1978 using Election Commission data.

3. In the case of constituencies that have been newly created or spiked due to delimitation of seats, we have examined the chunks that have moved or have been clubbed together.

4. We have looked at each contesting candidate and have drawn a winnability graph keeping local factors in mind. Aspects like personal charisma, nurturing constituency with development projects, and also party-hopping have been factored in.

5. We have cross-checked our lists with strategists of all major political parties. We have discounted their claims when they have been bombastic and accommodated them when they have been realistic.

6. We have studied the percentage of votes polled by each party and the victory margins of all seats in the 2004 election. We have given the benefit of doubt to the runner up in 2004 elections if he has lost by a thin margin and is contesting again. In some cases it is the runner up political party that gets this advantage although they have changed the candidate.

7. Due to the strict EC poll code we have given very little chance to new faces and parties entering a constituency for the first time. We believe that the process of new faces or new parties getting registered in the minds of voters has not happened.

8. We have checked the BSP factor by looking at their presence and performance in all constituencies in the 2004 elections.

9. Although there is a close contest in some constituencies we stick our head out and give only name per constituency.

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Congress 41, BJP 21, JDS 21

NDTV EXIT POLL: Hung assembly in the air again

10 May 2008

An exit poll conducted by NDTV of the first phase of the assembly elections in Karnataka indicates a substantial improvement in the BJP’s performance in the south of the State, a setback for the Congess in Bangalore, and the JDS holding is own.

Of the 89 constituencies, the BJP is expected to get 31 seats (up 11 from last time), the Congress is expected to get 23 seats (minus 5 ) and the JDS 30 seats (minus six). The overall pattern indicates a “hung” assembly, according to Prannoy Roy, a trained psephologist.

# Of the 28 seats in the capital, the NDTV exit poll says 14 will go to the BJP, 10 to the Congress, and four to the JDS. An earlier exit poll conducted by C-Fore said the Congress and BJP could bag 13-14 seats each in Bangalore, with JDS getting 0-1.

# In the 61 constituencies outside Bangalore, the NDTV exit poll says the JDS will end up with 26 seats, BJP 17, and Congress 13 seats.

The exit poll findings indicates that the Congress gamble of using S.M. Krishna as the face of Bangalore has not paid off, according to Prannoy Roy. The sample size for the NDTV exit poll was 7,000. The fieldwork was done by IMRB.

# The NDTV-IMRB exit poll findings are markedly different from the DRS-INX News pre-poll survey which said the BJP would get 40, Congress, 29, JDS 12 and others 8.

# The Suvarna News-Cfore exit poll predicts 39-42 seats for the Congress, 24-27 for the BJP, 20-23 for the JDS 20-23, 1 for BSP, and 3 for others.

# A straw poll conducted by churumuri contributors said 41 for the Congress, 21 for BJP and 21 for JDS in the first phase.

C-FORE EXIT POLL: BJP up, Congress still ahead

10 May 2008

An exit poll conducted for Suvarna News and Kannada Prabha by C-Fore of the first phase of polling in the Karnataka elections shows a marked improvement in the BJP’s peformance in Bangalore.

The Congress and BJP are both expected to get 13-14 seats each of the 28 seats up for grabs in the capital. A pre-poll survey had predicted 17-18 seats for the Congress in Bangalore, 9-10 for the BJP, 0-1 for the JDS.

Overall, Congress is expected to get 39-42 seats of the 89 that went to the booths today, the BJP 24-27, the JDS 20-23, BSP 1, and others 3. The pre-poll survey had predicted 42-45 seats for the Congress, 22-24 for the BJP, and 19-21 for the JDS, 0-1 for the BSP.

The Congress is expected to get a voteshare of 38 per cent, BJP 24 per cent, JDS 25 per cent in the first phase, according to the exit poll.

# In the 61 constituencies outside Bangalore, the exit poll predicts 26-28 seats for the Congress, 20-22 for the BJP, 11-13 for the JDS, 0-1 for the BSP, 0-2 others. The Congress voteshare in these 61 constituencies stands at 36 per cent, BJP 20 per cent, JDS 28 per cent, BSP 4 per cent and others 12 per cent. Outside Bangalore, the exit poll is predicting a +4 per cent swing for the Congress, +2 per cent for the BJP, -5 per cent for the JDS and +1 for BSP.

# In Bangalore city which has 28 constituencies, the exit poll predicts a 42 per cent voteshare for the Congress, 42 per cent for the BJP, 11 per cent for the JDS, 5 per cent for the others. BSP gets zilch in Bangalore. The pre-poll survey had predicted a 36 per cent voteshare for BJP, marking a six per cent jump for the party. In Bangalore, the poll predicts a +11 per cent swing for the BJP in Bangalore, and a -2 per cent swing for the Congress in Bangalore.

Good morning. Yet another opinion poll is here.

9 May 2008

With a day left for the first leg of the electoral battle, the war of the opinion polls continues unabated, leaving unknown casualties in its wake, the full extent of which will only be revealed on May 25, by which time most editors and pollsters will be praying nobody cares or at least nobody will remember.

Today’s Vijaya Karnataka has published results from a poll conducted by Development and Research Services for the new television channel INX News, as per which of the 89 constituencies trooping to the booths tomorrow, the BJP will 40, Congress, 29, JDS 12 and others 8.

In Bangalore, the poll says BJP will bag 18 versus Congress 10.

The poll was conducted from April 28 to May 6, the sample size was 12,450. DRS has predicted an even better showing for the BJP than the BJP’s own internal survey. DRS says the BJP could end up with 130 seats overall, the BJP’s survey says it could be anywhere upwards of 119.

A poll of the first phase conducted for Kannada Prabha and Suvarna News by C-Fore, using a random sample of 3,000, had predicted exactly the opposite: 42-45 seats for the Congress, 22-24 for the BJP, and 19-21 for the JDS, 0-1 for the BSP.

In Bangalore, the C-Fore poll had predicted 17-18 for the Congress, 9-10 for the BJP, and 0-1 for the JDS.

Don’t like these findings? Take your pick: Each one, take one

New poll predicts Congress sweep in Bangalore

7 May 2008

A pre-poll survey of the 89 constituencies going to the elections on Saturday is predicting 42-45 seats for the Congress, 22-24 for the BJP, and 19-21 for the JDS, 0-1 for the BSP. In 2004, the JDS had bagged 34 seats, Congress 19, BJP 10 in the 9 districts, not counting Chikkaballapur and Ramanagara/m.

The Congress is expected to get a voteshare of 39 per cent, BJP 24 per cent, JDS 22 per cent.

In Bangalore, where the number of seats has shot up from 12 to 28, the poll predicts 17-18 for the Congress, 9-10 for the BJP, and 0-1 for the JDS, others are predicted to get 0-1. In 2004, when there were 12 seats, the Congress had 8, BJP 3 and JDS 1.

The survey has been conducted for the New Indian Express, Kannada Prabha and Suvarna News by the polling agency C-Fore. The sample size was 3,000 randomly chosen voters. The margin of error is +/- 3 per cent, according to pollster Premchand Palety.

# Asked which party coming to power was better for Karnataka, 42 per cent respondents said Congress, 29 per cent said BJP, and 24 per cent said JDS.

# Respondents said the most important issues facing them in the election was drinking water (25%), infrastructure (21%), price rise (18%), corruption (10%).

# 57 per cent said the BJP-JDS coalition was better than the Congress-JDS coalition (43 per cent). 53 per cent said the JDS was not right to pull the plug in its alliance with BJP, while 21 per cent agreed with the move.

# Asked if there was a need for a regional party in Karnataka as articulated by former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, 66 per cent said no, 34 per cent said yes.

Also read: Each one take one, polls to please all

Our fate is ‘hung’ as score reads 1-1 in war of polls

Second poll too gives Congress the edge

CHURUMURI POLL: Should EC ban pre-poll surveys?

Each one, take one: opinion polls to please all

6 May 2008

With just four days to go for the first phase of polling in the 2008 Karnataka Elections, there is now a buffet of opinion polls, pre-poll surveys, internal surveys, to pick and choose from depending on your political taste:

CNN-INN-Deccan Herald: Congress 114, BJP 60, JDS 37

The Week: Congress 89-97, BJP 83-91, JDS 13-21, others 19-27.

DRS-INX News: BJP 130, Congress 65, JDS 30-45

BJP internal survey: BJP 119-129, Congress 60, JDS <20

Anglo-Indian Unity Centre: Congress 46 per cent, BJP 39 per cent, JDS 6 per cent

Kannada Prabha-Suvarna News (first phase): Congress 43-44, BJP 22, JDS 20

Photograph: Cricket gear, with bats, stumps, balls bearing the JDS symbol, seized at Sakkarepatna near Chikamagalur. (Karnataka Photo News)


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