CSDS has responded (Our allegations are at “Opinion Poll in Andhra Pradesh: Not funny anymore”). The response is reprinted below. CSDS has admitted to the following:
- CSDS employed P Narasimha Rao who is honorary convener of Samaikyandhra JAC.
- Most of the investigators that went into Telangana are from Seemandhra.
- It is ‘possibly an error of judgment’. CSDS ‘would therefore carry out an independent verification of these survey findings and report the findings to the public within the next two months’.
[Response from CSDS reprinted]
Clarification on Telangana related findings of the State of the Nation Survey by the CSDS
The publication of the findings pertaining to Telangana in the CNN-IBN State of the Nation Survey undertaken by the CSDS and presented by The Hindu has evoked strong interest and intense reactions, natural in a passionately contested issue like this one. We have been accused in some quarters of carrying out a flawed exercise biased against the movement for a separate Telangana.
Such an impression arises partly from a misreading of the survey findings. Our survey clearly shows that within the Telangana region nearly two-thirds of those who have an opinion support a separate state. Since 2004, when the CSDS started asking this question in Andhra Pradesh, the support for a separate state has increased consistently within the Telangana region. This basic finding cannot possibly be read as propaganda against separate Telangana. The survey also found that there still is a small section of people within the region (more in Hyderabad and some other districts) who do not support this demand and that the level of opposition to Telangana in the rest of Andhra Pradesh is even stronger. We have no reason to disbelieve these findings.
Some of the suspicion about the survey findings arise from external facts. The State of the Nation Survey was coordinated in Andhra Pradesh by Mr. Narsimha Rao (a fact duly reported in The Hindu) of the Nagarjuna University, Guntur. He has been associated for long with the CSDS surveys and has in recent years led the Andhra Pradesh team which has acquired formidable reputation for professionalism and integrity. Of late, in his personal capacity, he has been the honorary convener of the Joint Action Committee for united Andhra Pradesh. Since the survey was carried out by the students from Nagarjuna University, the headquarters of the CSDS surveys in the state for well over a decade, most of the investigators that went to Telangana were from Seemandhra though some field investigators did hail from Telangana region. These two facts did not seem very relevant to this survey, since this was a nation-wide poll focusing on corruption, price rise and leadership. There were only two questions on Telangana (out of over a hundred) in this survey.
We have no reason to believe that the political convictions of our coordinator or the composition of the survey team has compromised the quality of the data on the Telangana question. Our preliminary internal consistency checks on the data do not reveal anything unusual. Field reports from the investigators that went to Telangana drew attention to an unfortunate tendency to censor independent research: our investigators were physically thrown out from two assembly segments (Mahbubabad and Ibrahimpatanam) and their work was disrupted elsewhere too by pro-Telangana activists. We have come across no evidence of any wrong-doing on the part of the investigators.
Given the high credibility that the CSDS surveys enjoy, it is of utmost importance that we are, and are seen to be, absolutely fair in recording public opinion. Given the charged political context that prevails in the state, we should have anticipated that the affiliation of our coordinator and the composition of our team would lead to distrust among those advocating a separate state. Presentation of the survey findings on Telangana without addressing these legitimate apprehensions was possibly an error of judgment. We would therefore carry out an independent verification of these survey findings and report the findings to the public within the next two months. The CSDS team remains committed to transparency and accountability in its surveys and is willing to answer any question related to this survey. We shall also place on our website (www.lokniti.org) all relevant details regarding the survey in all the regions of Andhra Pradesh
Professor Suhas Palshikar
Director, Lokniti, a research programme of the CSDS.
Director, State of the Nation Survey, 2011, CSDS.