Private intelligence agencies advising political parties on ticket seekers and rivals.
NEW DELHI: As political parties learn to set up central war-rooms in their headquarters during elections to civic bodies, state assemblies or the Lok Sabha, they are increasingly depending on private detective agencies to collect and collate data in order to gauge people’s mood, select prospective candidates and know rival strategies.
Sniffing a business opportunity, private players have come up with specialised services of providing ground report to political leaders. The concept of ‘political intelligence’ that emerged in 2004-05 is fast gaining currency where private intelligence firms are hired to seek credible information about candidates seeking party ticket or obtain information about the party’s policies and their assessment about the identified political leaders of their own party in their areas of influence.
“Till about a decade back, there were just about two private firms for this kind of work but today this specialised line has a lot of takers,” said Kunwar Vikram Singh, chairman of Association of Private Detective and Investigators (APDI). At present, there are approximately 35 players across India, out of which five are national and the remaining 30 are regional or local. “In the past seven years this field has grown at a staggering 200-300%,” he said.
Services provided by the intelligence firms are different from what the general marketing or political research companies, who conduct pre-poll and exit polls jointly with media houses, do. We conduct multiple-surveys at the grass root level and collect every minute detail,” said Vivek Bagri, chairman of Infoelection Leadtech.
Infoelection Leadtech was established in 2008 and has been in this business for over three years now. They are primarily into political research and electoral intelligence gathering via booth-level analysis of voter’s sentiments about the party and the candidates.