Exit poll results aren't the real thing!

A friend just back from a long vacation got into a discussion with me on the election results over Facebook messenger. What results, I asked him. He laughed out loud and asked me not to pretend that I didn’t know that the BJP-led NDA had won with a thumping majority. I sent him a link to an Election Commission statement that the counting will happen on Friday and the results will be declared on that day.

So what’s it that I see on the news channels, he asked. “Why is it that they are discussing the rout of the Congress and that Narendra Modi will be the next PM?” It was now my turn to do an LOL and mock at him for having got taken in by some of the nightlies. While it’s true that in the next 24 hours we will possibly know who will be the next Prime Minister, note the use of the word possibly. For, we aren’t sure of how India has voted.

If the verdict is fractured, the decision on who’ll be PM will indeed take a while. And we have seen several times over that exit polls have gone awfully wrong.

In this desire to be one up on the other in the discussion game, news channel editors appear to have stopped sitting back and take a considered view on what should be their content strategy. Time for an introspection!

NDTV 24x7 the best on Results Day?
If I had my way, I would just watch NDTV 24x7 for the election results. If the Exit Polls show aired by the channel last night was an indicator, the combination of Prannoy Roy, Dorab Sopariwalla, Shekhar Gupta, Siddharth Varadarajan and Sudheendra Kulkarni is invincible. It can be compared only with that of CNN-IBN. I would like to give Arnab Goswami a miss for the first part of the day. He’s good to get people to fight and get everyone to talk together. And not much else.

Alas, I can’t do that. Watch out for a special edition of Noose Night on Saturday reviewing the offering on a dozen-odd English and Hindi news channels.

Pradyuman Maheshwari is a senior journalist and editor. When he’s not chasing news, he’s watching it. Twitter: @pmahesh

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