On 21st April 2019, Shekhar Gupta, the owner of the leftist online portal The Print and the current Editors Guild chief tweeted about how Prime Minister Modi would in all likeliness, per him, not reach the majority mark in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections 2019. He replugged an old December 2018 interview with Rajesh Jain who he called the brain behind Modi’s 2014 Mission 272. He also stated the pollster CVoter headed by Yashwant Deshmukh, predicts 220 for PM Modi now as opposed to 282 in 2014.
C-Voter poll predicts 220 for BJP now against 282 in 2014…
BJP will be 80-100 seats shorter of its 2014 mark, the brain behind Modi’s Mission 272 Rajesh Jain told ThePrinthttps://t.co/ZOMijlcdV7
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) April 21, 2019
Shekhar Gupta attempted to bring credibility to his analysis by saying that Rajesh Jain had predicted 80-100 seats lesser from BJP than its 2014 number which was 282. He then attempted to solidify that position taken by Rajesh Jain by saying that CVoter had NOW revised its prediction to 220 for BJP against 282 in 2014.
According to the Model Code of Conduct in place, while the election phases are ongoing, pollsters are not supposed to give exit or opinion polls. Which also means that pollsters are not meant to predict how many seats a party may or may not get in the General Elections once the voting starts.
Due to the MCC rules, some eyebrows were raised. While some people questioned Shekhar Gupta, others questioned Yashwant Deshmukh, the head of CVoter.
Soon, Yashwant Deshmukh released a clarification slamming Shekhar Gupta.
Let me put the record straight: Respecting the ECI embargo, we do NOT release any vote/seat numbers once the election process starts. Either these quoted numbers are from December 2018 survey, or someone is trying to give wrong input in our name.
Samachar Samaapt Hue. https://t.co/5aQEmG8k00
— Yashwant Deshmukh 🇮🇳 (@YRDeshmukh) April 21, 2019
Yashwant Deshmukh, putting the record straight said that CVoter has respected the Election Commission embargo and has not released any vote or seat numbers once the election process started.
He said that the numbers quoted by Shekhar Gupta were either from the December 2018 survey of CVoter or someone is trying to give wrong input in CVoter’s name.
Essentially, Yashwant Deskhmukh clarified that Shekhar Gupta saying that CVoter has NOW predicted 220 for PM Modi as opposed to the 282 seat mandate BJP got in 2014 is utterly false.
ABP-CVoter in December had predicted 261 for NDA in 2019 elections and in January, CVoter for Republic had predicted 335 for NDA. It is still a mystery from where the 220 numbers were picked up by the media.
In an election season, the prospects of a party and the number of seats they are likely to win changes every day. Hence, if Shekhar Gupta has peddled December 2018 numbers as current numbers in April 2019 while the polls are still on, it reaks of mischief and a malicious agenda to influence the polls.
Shekhar Gupta, being the chief of Editors Guild and running a platform that has all the resources at its disposal is unlikely to fall for some third party feeding incorrect data to The Print in CVoter’s name, and hence, the explanation that Shekhar Gupta maliciously peddled December 2018 numbers as current predictions or entirely made up the numbers and attributed it to CVoter are more likely explanations.
In fact, the 220 number was peddled by several others as well. The Quint too cited this mysterious poll survey done by CVoter that Yashwant Deshmukh says was never carried out. The Deccan Herald too followed suit among many others.
The Print and Shekhar Gupta himself have been caught several times peddling false information and downright lies. Recently, The Print had spread dangerous lies about Polio vaccines in India. Shekhar Gupta’s platform had also discovered a new low when it gave a Khalistan a platform to air his separatist and dangerous views. In fact, in a desperate attempt to garner eyeballs, had resorted to cheap sexual innuendos asking village women whether they think of PM Modi as a ‘sex symbol’. Shekhar Gupta himself has peddled many lies and most recently, he had managed to even use Wing Commander Abhinandan’s return from Pakistan to deride India with half facts and whole lies.