A coach designed as rath by BJP (left) and a screenshot of NEWSMEN Opinion Poll.
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Kolkata: The people seem to be sharply divided in their opinion as regards the actual agenda of the rath yatras that BJP has been planning to hold in Bengal for a while.

The dispute over the rath yatras, which have been denied permission by Mamata Banerjee government, will be heard by the Supreme Court on Tuesday (8 January). This is on a plea filed by the saffron party against denial of permission.

NEWSMEN conducted an online opinion poll on its homepage on the matter between 10 December and 6 January.

In the poll, the question asked was “Is BJP trying to fan communal sentiment in Bengal with rathyatra?” and, respondents had the option either to say YES or NO.

People from all over India and some foreign countries participated in the poll with their locations being automatically identified by the Internet protocol (IP) address they used while voting.

The results reveal that of the total respondents, 50.74 per cent think that BJP actually wants to fan communal sentiment through the proposed rath yatras, whereas 49.25 per cent feel there is no communal agenda behind the programme.

Trinamool may take some solace in the fact that at least a little over one per cent of the respondent backs its allegation that BJP has a communal agenda for the rath yatras but the shocker for Bengal’s ruling party lies in the details!

Among the respondents from Kolkata, 55.88 per cent does not support Trinamool’s allegation and, think that BJP has no communal agenda for organising the rath yatras. The rest, 44.11 per cent backs Trinamool’s stand.

As regards the rest of Bengal, the number in favour of BJP is even higher at 66.66 per cent and, only 33.33 per cent agree that BJP wants to fan communal sentiment with its rath yatras.

However, when it comes to the rest of India, a majority 59.25 per cent of the respondents feel that BJP has a communal agenda behind the proposed rath yatras.

Interestingly, many of them hail from BJP-ruled states like UP, Maharashtra and, Assam.

The remaining 40.74 per cent, who do not think BJP has a communal agenda for organising the rath yatras, hail from states like Delhi and Karnataka, etc.

The limitations of online opinion polls are that, in most cases, the sample size is small and respondents are not well distributed. Rather, they participate in the poll at random.

Chances are that people with a particular mindset may have mostly voted and hence, the outcome may not be a true reflection of the general public opinion. However, what the outcome reveals is a general mood about an issue in question.