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Tall unrealistic claims bring decline in popularity

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on August 30, 2021 with No Comments

Until last year, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi was ‘Best Choice for PM’; in a survey conducted by India’s leading TV channel. When asked to choose the next Prime Minister, as many as sixty six  percent of the respondents had named Narendra Modi in August 2020. The number fell to 38 per cent in January this year and has hit 24 per cent in August this year. Perhaps no other leader has had such dip in his/her popularity and that too in such a short period. The “only 24 percent” support for their leader would effect the morale of the cadre and more so that their “alternate” to Prime Minister Modi is eleven percent in the ‘Best Choice for PM’ line-up.

With just 10 months to go for the Uttar Pardesh Assembly elections, the BJP has a lot more to worry about based upon the result of the survey. Yogi Adityanath is only seventh best among the array of Chief Ministers as only twenty nine percent of the respondents from UP gave Yogi Adityanath a positive rating.  And in that pack of leading top six chief ministers is only one from the BJP –Hemanta Biswa Sarma of Assam.

At the same time, the survey very rightly finds that inflation and unemployment are top priorities for Indians; and Narendra Modi government has not been able to do much.  In six months, the number of people who believed that the economy will “get worse” rose from 17 percent to 32 percent. And only 28 percent think their economic situation has improved after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister. Also, 60 percent of the respondents said they don’t believe the Modi Government is doing much about controlling inflation, up from 35 percent in January 2021.

The reasons for this meltdown are not what supporters of Narendra Modi would like to acknowledge.  There is beginning of unease over the government’s curbing of democratic expression. Only 40 per cent believe we enjoy the freedom to protest compared to 51 per cent who disagree. The proposition that our democracy is in danger evokes a split verdict: while 45 per cent agree, 47 per cent disagree with the idea. This trend is worth keeping an eye on, but as yet, this is not driving the drop in PM’s popularity.

The government’s handling of the Covid is another factor that has contributed to this low level of opularity. . No amount of whitewashing can conceal the reality from the public that has seen deaths and trauma first-hand. No wonder 71 per cent people think the real death toll is much higher than the official Covid death statistics. They are quite fair in apportioning blame: 44 per cent blame both central and state governments for the mishandling of the Covid crisis, compared to 13 per cent who blame only the central government, and 10 per cent who blame only the state governments. Over the last one year, the public perception of the Prime Minister’s handling of Covid pandemic has turned negative.

If elections were to be held today, Narendra Modi might not be able to make it to third term. It’s not so much the India Today Polls and the ‘Mood of the Nation’ survey, but the feeling that majority of Indians seems content with Narendra Modi being two-time Prime Minister, reflect on their fatigue  that stems from a host of unfulfilled promises and tall claims that were unrealistic.


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