Unlike exit polls that rarely match the final mandate, Today's Chanakya has been spot on for the second consecutive time in predicting the final outcome of an election. It has been the only exit poll that was closest to the verdict delivered by 505 million Indian voters.
The political arm of the consumer research agency RNB Research, Today's Chanakya had predicted 340 seats for the National Democratic Alliance with the BJP's share as 291 seats on May 12, the last date of the polls.
On Friday, the NDA is slated to get 329 seats with the BJP crossing the half way mark with 279 seats. The UPA leads in about 70 seats with the Congress ahead in 48, close to Today's Chanakya prediction of 70 for UPA and 57 for the Congress.
"We have been correct about 99% times," said a buoyant VK Bajaj, chief executive officer of the company specialising in sample surveys, after Today's Chanakya's exit poll predicted a Modi wave in India. "We believe in quality of the samples and not just quantity."
A company spokesperson added that they ensure that the sampling of polls is done as per caste and religious configuration of a constituency. "We check and re-check the sample size to ensure that most parts of a constituency are covered. No community that can impact poll result is left out and we use multiple question methods to catch the voter's preference," the spokesperson added.
In December 2013, when most exit opinions termed Arvind Kejriwal as a media creation without much impact on voters, Today's Chanakya gave him 31 seats and the BJP 29. Most pollsters termed it as a bluff but when the results came, the exit poll was proved almost right. In reality, AAP got 28 seats and the BJP, 32.
In 2014, Today's Chanakya gave BJP a decisive edge in the Congress-ruled Karnataka hinting at a revival of BS Veddyruppa. This was when all other exit polls predicted that it would be a close contest between the two national parties. Similarly, the pollster predicted a clean sweep for the BJP in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Its prediction of the seats won by different parties in Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal also proved to be true.
The company's rivals in predicting results, however, were way away off the mark with none sensing that the NDA would cross the 300 mark. The CNN-IBN said the BJP-led alliance could get 261-283 seats, Times Now 249, ABP Nielsen 281, Headline Today 261 to 283, NDTV-Hansa Research 279 and India TV 289 seats. Most of the exit polls did not see the UPA alliance that was in power for 10 years getting less than 100 seats.