DMK president MK Stalin must be on cloud nine. Poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s I-PAC (Indian Political Action Committee), which has been engaged by Stalin to devise strategies for 2021 Assembly polls, was understood to have predicted a massive sweep by DMK next year.
The number has been arrived at based on a Statewide field survey said to be done by I-PAC analysts in all districts since early March. Views of about 2,000 samples (voters) were elicited on different issues over the last four months. From government’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic to State’s negotiation with the Centre on key issues like education, funds and water sharing, views of the same set of respondents in each district was collected to test the popularity of the government, leaders and likeability of the DMK during the last four and a half months, a DMK source told DT Next.
“The focus of the survey was more on issues around which the state politics revolved around during the lockdown period. The strategists did not lay emphasis on individuals and leaders this time. A preliminary report of the four-month survey is said to have predicted around 180 seats,” a DMK senior who did not wish to be named said, adding that a separate survey on leaders popularity besides a report of the ongoing survey which is expected to be completed sometime late 2020 would give a more accurate prediction for next year’s poll. “We were told that the preliminary survey has predicted a big number and he (Stalin) was elated by the outcome,” the leader added, recalling the earlier suggestion of I-PAC which had proposed DMK going it alone next year.
“Strategist might predict an even bigger number and advise us to divorce allies later this year, but Stalin will be cautious. We were advised by a few to go it alone even in 2019 Parliamentary polls, like we nearly did in 2014 without national allies. In hindsight, one could say we could have swept all 39 seats on our own if we had done it last year. But, we do not know how voters react. What worked (for Jagan) in Andhra might not work the same,” another DMK senior reasoned on condition of anonymity.
“Our leader chose to propose Rahul for Prime Minister in 2019. Stalin will take professional opinion from strategists. Actual decisions will be governed by his experience and political reality close to the election. He might drive a hard bargain and retain the lion’s share of seats. But, he is unlikely to dump allies,” the leader added.