Before the final outcome of Telangana poll results in December 2018, almost all Telugu news channels were abuzz with Lagadapati's Surveys! While many cried foul, some TV channels aired them as authentic and even showed debates questioning or supporting his survey findings in the past.
Launched by Rajagopal Lagadapati, who was a Congress MP from Krishna district but best remembered for his protest against the Telangana State formation bill in the Lok Sabha by throwing pepper on the floor of the House in 2014, has emerged as Andhra Octopus in predeicting poll outcome. Though he retreated from politics, emerged as an alternative to psephologists in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
He had claimed to have conducted his own surveys in pre-2014 elections in AP and Telangana and predicted a clear victory to both TDP in AP and KRS in Telangana. The results, surprisingly proved him right as he came closest-ever among all the predictions in 2014 state election results. He predicted plus or minus 60 seats for TRS and the party won 63 MLA seats to be precise, while he had forecast 115 seats for TDP and BJP alliance and they won 106 seats together.
Ever since, Lagadapati surveys have replaced the pre-poll surveys of many psephologists in these two states. In 2017 Nandyal by-elections too, his prediction came true when TDP won the seat, defeating YSR Congress candidate.
But the 'Andhra Octopus' went wrong estimating that the TRS would get around 35 seats, while the 'Mahakutami' would secure nearly 65 seats to form government in Telangana. Unfortunately, his prediction went beyond anybody's radar as TRS emerged victorious with 88 out of 119 seats.
However, many fans of Lagadapati had argued that he came under pressure from the TDP and hence he skewed the numbers in favour of TDP. Even TRS leader K. Taraka Rama Rao (KTR), son of the state chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao (KCR), once tweeted during the election period that Lagadapati had actually informed him about his party's winning edge but later fudged the figure under pressure.
Despite the Telangana outcome, reports said Lagadapati is again coming under pressure to release a pre-poll survey, and this time too reportedly at the best of the TDP and its leadership, in return for a favourable contract to one of his firms in Anantapur. While there is no confirmation, it remains to be seen whether the former MP from Krishna and Andhra Octopus would actually come out with a survey soon, despite his Telangana debacle.