Deciphering the Indian Elections

This is an AI Anthropology experiment where we are analysing the Indian general elections by focusing on the state of Uttar Pradesh. We are building different types of maps and are publishing notes based on the patterns we are seeing.We invite you to use our maps, read our notes, arrive at your own conclusions and talk to us about them.


23 May 2019
Election 2019: Where We Went Wrong
Our models predicted two diametrically opposite outcomes — one where the SP+BSP+RLD won the majority of seats, the other was a mirror where the BJP won the majority of seats. Guess which one we bet on.
19 May 2019
Uttar Pradesh 2019 Projection: Seven Phases, 144 Million Voters, Key Issues, One Ballot
In 2014, people in Uttar Pradesh voted across caste lines, choosing a future that wasn’t rooted in their past. In 2019, voting along caste lines returned with a bang. Uttar Pradesh is where Narendra Modi and Amit Shah may have met their match in Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati’s powerful alliance of mutual respect and admiration.
13 May 2019
He Freed The Cow, Who's Going to Bell Yogi
Zero — that’s the number of seats we believe the BJP has won in Uttar Pradesh in Phase 6. And we think we know who’s responsible.
7 May 2019
The Undercurrent Is An Earthquake
After five phases, we believe we have understood the nature of the so-called undercurrent against the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. We think it’s time to call it what it is — a rumbling earthquake that is shaking the foundations of the social alliance the BJP had stitched together ahead of 2014.
6 May 2019
People Voted for Vikas in Phase Five
We have been exploring an oft-used word this election season — vikas, or development. On a day when turnout has been mostly flat across Uttar Pradesh, we believe people voted for very different versions of development.
29 Apr 2019
It's Time to Adjust our Weights for the BJP
We were wrong. We expected the BJP to do well today, but as we saw the skews in turnout numbers and tracked multiple signals, it became clear that we will have to adjust our weights for the last three phases.
24 Apr 2019
A Socialist Tuesday
The Muslim-Yadav bastion that went to the polls in Phase 3 was stormed by the BJP in 2014. This time around, the SP is back — and we believe a new normal is emerging around caste identities.
22 Apr 2019
Chowkidars: The Few, the Loud and the Quiet
Of about 26,000 Chowkidars on Twitter in Uttar Pradesh, just 10 per cent are responsible for 70 per cent of all tweets. Coordinated campaign or genuine support? We look at the data.
20 Apr 2019
The Changing Arithmetic of Candidacy in UP
In India, where people simultaneously hold multiple identities — rooted in language, religion, caste and sub-castes — it’s often been debated what matters most when people vote. Bahraich offers some clues.
19 Apr 2019
The BJP's formidable post-caste bloc
There is an aspirational voter who rejects the idea that their lives should be defined by their caste. This voter has been captured almost entirely by the BJP and represents a formidable bloc.
18 Apr 2019
The BJP worker in UP lost heart today
As Phase Two polls come to a close, the Gathbandhan and the Congress have a lot to celebrate in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP worker knew this by noon today.
15 Apr 2019
The Changing Arithmetic of Candidacy in Uttar Pradesh
In India, where people simultaneously hold multiple identities — rooted in language, religion, caste and sub-castes — it’s often been debated what matters most when people vote. Bahraich offers some clues.
13 Apr 2019
Post Phase 1, An MGB Wave in UP?
There is a significant shift in the conversations online between the 10th of April and the 12th of April. The authoritative tone of BJP supporters has changed to speculation now. There is an air of uncertainty post Phase 1 turnout that is making the core BJP voters nervous.
11 Apr 2019
Ominous signs for the BJP in UP
As polls come to a close for the first phase of elections in Uttar Pradesh, it’s clear that turnout this time is lower than 2014. That’s a very bad sign for the BJP.
10 Apr 2019
The Muslim vote distribution show us three Indias
With most of the media talking about caste/community/religious vote-banks, we decided to show how these narratives don’t take into account the very different Indias that exist side-by-side.
9 Apr 2019
Does Modi want to call himself a Field Marshall?
His speeches seem to suggest so, and there may be a good reason guiding this choice.
8 Apr 2019
The NYAY Effect
The centrepiece of the Congress campaign is the minimum income guarantee program they have (cleverly) named NYAY — we decided to study its electoral impact.
8 Apr 2019
Explainer: Polling Booth Vote Share Shift Map
A visual representation of how votes have shifted at the polling booth level for each party, and for the BSP+SP+RLD alliance, over the last two elections (2014 and 2017).
8 Apr 2019
Explainer: The Coalition Arithmetic Map
Add up vote-shares, include shifts in vote share because of turnout (or issues), and see what the electoral map looks like.
7 Apr 2019
The BJP’s Election to Lose
As much as any party would like to make this a presidential-style election, the 2019 electoral landscape is markedly different from 2014 and is about how many seats the NDA will lose.
6 Apr 2019
Understanding Complexity
As the pace of change accelerates, it is clear that human understanding needs new tools. We decided to build, and test, tools and methodologies — and there is no greater test of human understanding than an Indian election.