Big Data analysis throws up riveting trivia on polls

What’s in a name? You’d better not ask this question to a Ram or a Mohammed in Uttar Pradesh or a Gita Ben in Gujarat or a Lakshmi in Andhra Pradesh. Of the 13.4 crore voters in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s biggest State by number of voters, at least 1.2 crore people have Ram somewhere in their name.

In Andhra Pradesh, the name Srinivas is spelt 600 different ways. About three lakh women in Gujarat have Gita Ben as their first name, while Bihar is home for 3.27 lakh women with Sita as their first name and an almost equal number of women named Geeta. Ramesh seems to be the most common first name across the country.

When one billion people go for voting, you can certainly hope for interesting trivia. A Hyderabad-based start-up has used a variety of Big Data tools to mine the electorate as they worked for a national political party in the ongoing general elections.

Modak Analytics, a three-year-old start-up, has collected and sifted through a whopping 18 tera bytes of data, which includes 10 TB (one TB is 1,000 gigabytes or GB) in .pdf format.

The other names that are quite popular are: Lakshmi (19.28 lakh, Andhra Pradesh), Fernandes (81,000, Goa), Shankar (11.41 lakh) and Patil (24 lakh, Maharashtra).

“We have vetted about data related to 81 crore people to help our client understand the electorate on a wide variety of aspects such as caste, gender, age and economic status. We used all the publicly available data provided by Election Commission and Census figures,” Milind Chitgupakar, Chief Analytics Officer of Modak, said.

Addressing reporters on Wednesday, Modak Analytics’ Co-Founder Aarti Joshi said the company would now look at banking and retail industries to provide Big Data analytics solutions. The 10-employee strong self-funded firm hopes to register a turnover of Rs 1 crore this year.

Two longest names for voters are registered in Andhra Pradesh – E Janake Sathya Surya Vijaya Durga Maheshvari in Sangareddy constituency and Venkata Sathya Suriya Maitreyi Kumari Toleti in Narsapur constituency.

There is comedy of errors too. In Chhattisgarh, the age of a voter is marked as 19,545 years, while 64 voters in AP has ‘0’ years of age.

(This article was published on May 15, 2014)
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