The Leaderboard: Today’s Chanakya

The Leaderboard profiles the people behind the policies of the Asia-Pacific.Who are they?

Today’s Chanakya is an India-based public opinion polling company established in 1995, headed by Mr. VK Bajaj. As the political branch of the consumer research agency RNB Research, it gained recognition for being the only pollster to accurately predict the results of the four largest state elections held in December 2013 (Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh) through exit polling. Most notably, they projected the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to win 31 seats in the Delhi assembly elections – the AAP ended up forming the government with 28 seats meaning the company was only three seats off the mark, while no other major poll had AAP winning more than 15 seats.

Source: Al Jazeera English's flickr photostream, used under a creative commons license.

Party flags of Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) during a campaign rally. Source: Al Jazeera English’s flickr photostream, used under a creative commons license.

Why are they in the news?             

Earlier this week the various exit polls from India’s election were released. Today’s Chanakya predicted a major victory for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition with the NDA getting 340 seats and the BJP alone picking up around 291 seats.This projection stands in sharp contrast to other pollsters such as India TV-C Voter, ABP News, and CNN-IBN Lok Niti that predict the NDA to win between 249 and 289 seats total.

In order to form a majority government, the BJP needs 272 seats, which means if we go by Chanakya’s data, the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi are set to win a huge and unprecedented victory.


Exit Poll Survey NDA UPA Others
Today’s Chanakya 340 70 133
India TV- C-Voter 289 101 153
ABP News-Nielsen 281 97 165
CNNIBN- Lokniti 270-282 92-102 169-171
India Today Group – Cicero 261-283 110-120 150-162
Times Now- ORG India 249 148 146

(Source: Various news media, compiled by CSIS staff)

What can we expect from them?

Given the vastness of India’s elections, exit polling is a difficult exercise to undertake and the data is often unreliable. In the case of Chanakya, its research methods are closely guarded and its clientele is confidential. If Today’s Chanakya turns out to be the most accurate polling agency once again, we can expect more and more political parties to commission them for opinion polls in the run-up to elections.



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