By Raza Elahi
During the poll season, you must have read many columns and seen TV programmes based on the journalists' tour to the poll-bound areas. Each journalist do his/her reporting in individual capacity for the organisation he/she works. But very few know that for the last one and a half decade some of the country's best-known journalists and columnists (around 15-20) travel in a group to check the pulse of the voters and obviously to predict the people's verdict.
At the end of every trip, the group does a poll. The person whose prediction comes close to the actual results of the election is declared winner.
The group, which include Shekhar Gupta (editor-in-chief, The Indian Express),Arindam Sengupta (executive editor, The Times of India), Radhika and Prannoy Roy (NDTV founders), Columnists Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Surjit Bhalla, former Businessweek journalist Manjeet Kripalani, former BBC journalist Sanjeev Srivastava and psephologist Dorab Sopariwala etc, has covered every Lok Sabha poll and important assembly elections - 19 trips so far.
As per the wishes of the organisers, the tours and information about fellow-travellers rarely get mentioned in media. However, recently, a newspaper report carried some interesting experiences of these high-profile journalists when they went out together on poll pilgrimages, but the reporter's efforts to find out frequent winners among those high-profile journalists were not successful.