If elections were held today, it will be Narendra Modi again, minus the wave, says a survey.
New Delhi: India is the biggest democracy in the world and elections put a stamp on the will of the people.
The biggest political showdown – the general elections that decide who will run the country – is slated for next year. And if we were to believe India Today’s Mood of the Nation July 2018 (MOTN July 2018) poll, then Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would return to power with Narendra Modi at its helm, all set for a second term as the Prime Minister.
But NDA may not be a happy lot. Wondering why? Well, its leaders regularly make tall claims of winning the 2019 election by an absolute majority but the poll suggests that if elections were held today, it will be the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) that will gain and jump as many as 20 seats in the seat-share.
BJP VS CONG: Congress may not be able to overthrow the present Modi-Amit Shah regime but it has reason to cheer as NDA’s strength will come down to 281 seats (from 336 seats in 2014), just nine ahead of the Lok Sabha halfway mark. BJP would win 245 seats in 2019, instead of repeating or surpassing the historic 282 figure of 2014 LS polls.
This clearly means BJP will lose its supremacy in the lower house and will rely more on allies to get their policies and projects rolling. The UPA is likely to get 122 seats while other regional parties would win the remaining 140. The Congress led by Rahul Gandhi would nearly double its 2014 tally by clinching 83 seats. In terms of the vote share, the NDA would see a drop of 4 per cent and will come down to 36 per cent of votes polled while the UPA would go up by 4 per cent to reach 31 per cent.
NEXT PM OF INDIA: Despite the dip in vote share, Modi remains the clear favourite to be the next PM with 49 per cent popularity followed by Rahul Gandhi’s at 27 per cent and his sister Priyanka Gandhi at a distant 3 per cent. But on what planks will the election be fought?
BIGGEST ISSUES: Well, the most pressing issues for Indians currently are unemployment, price rise and corruption. Though 55 per cent of respondents believe that Modi has delivered the goods, for 34 per cent people, unemployment is a concern that needs immediate attention. Nearly 75 per cent even complained that demerits of demonestiation, Modi’s political masterstroke, outweighed its advantages. Among the cabinet ministers, Arun Jaitley is the best performer according to respondents followed closely by Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari and Nirmala Sitharaman.
FIESTY MAMATA: The survey also names feisty West Bengal leader Mamata Banerjee as the best chief minister. While Nitish Kumar and Arvind Kejriwal are other toppers on CM leaderboard, big names like Manohar Parrikar, Vijay Rupani, ML Khattar, Devendra Fadnavis and Amarinder Singh failed to be people’s favourite getting a paltry two per cent.
RAHUL AS PM: An overwhelming 49 per cent believe that the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) led by Rahul Gandhi is a possibility that can challenge the NDA juggernaut. About 47 per cent of respondents also believe that the scion of India’s most famous political dynasty can revitalize the grand old party and about 46 per cent believe that other leaders of the grand alliance will accept him as their PM candidate.
PS: The numbers have been evaluated believing that no partner in either alliance at present will leave or switch allegiance. But it goes without saying that no matter how interesting the numbers maybe but election results and post-election stitching of alliances, as history has often shown, can shock best of the pundits. After all, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies but only permanent interests in politics.