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Indian firm carrying out poll survey

A New Delhi-based political management company, which has Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Biju Janata Dal and Rashtriya Lok Dal candidates as clients in India, is conducting the survey across Sri Lanka to gauge how incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa would fare in the presidential election on January 26, reports Sutirtho Patranobis.

world Updated: Jan 17, 2010 07:49 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

Sri Lanka’s largest-ever pre-poll survey is being conducted by an Indian consultant.

A New Delhi-based political management company, which has Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Biju Janata Dal and Rashtriya Lok Dal candidates as clients in India, is conducting the survey across Sri Lanka to gauge how incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa would fare in the presidential election on January 26.

Viplav Communications (VC) began the survey on December 17 and till January 15 had surveyed more than 18,000 Sri Lankans across the country.

“All nine Sri Lankan provinces and 23 electoral districts are part of the survey. No geographical area will be left unrepresented,’’ chief executive officer, Pallav Pandey told HT over phone from New Delhi.

Pallav said field workers have spread across Sri Lanka with mobile phones to conduct the “technology-heavy’’ survey.

“We are meeting citizens face-to-face after random selection from the voters’ list and giving them a questionnaire to answer. The questions are on the cell phone and the answers are received on the phones too. The data is then uploaded and is being continuously analysed. We are asking citizens questions like the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate and the issues they feel are important,’’ Pallav, an IIT Kanpur graduate, said.

Rahul Pandey, who is coordinating the survey and is currently based in Sri Lanka, said locally-hired field workers have access to the entire country including areas where displaced Tamils are being resettled and areas where foreigners need permission to visit.

He added that camps for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) — where about 100,000 Tamils continue to live — were not part of the survey. “We are surveying according to the voters’ list, which has names and addresses; refugee camps have not been factored in as they are temporary,’’ Rahul said.

As far as trends were concerned, Rahul said in Tamil-dominated areas, many respondents were opting for the “can’t say’’ category in the questionnaire about their choice of candidate.