Rajat Sharma

The secrets behind Modi’s popularity

rajat-sirWith a view to gauge the political mood of the people across India, we commissioned a nationwide opinion poll titled ‘Desh Ki Awaaz’ to find out which party will win if a Lok Sabha election is held now. The India TV-Matrize Opinion Poll projected Modi-led NDA to win an absolute majority in the event of a snap LS election.

NDA is projected to sweep the polls in northern, western, central and north-eastern India, while regional and non-BJP parties will perform better in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, and the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. This, in a nutshell, was the conclusion of the India TV Opinion Poll.

In the popularity ratings, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stands tall scoring 48 per cent acceptance from the people, with other opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee and others way behind. The survey was conducted by Matrize News between July 11 and 24 among 34 thousand respondents, which include nearly 20,000 males and 14,000 females.

The opinion poll projected Modi-led NDA to win 362 seats out of a total of 543 LS seats. If this trend persists till the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Narendra Modi can create history. Only Jawaharlal Nehru won three Lok Sabha elections consecutively in 1952, 1957 and 1962, and Modi can very well equal Nehru’s record. Normally anti-incumbency sentiment sets in after a leader completes five years of his tenure, but in Modi’s case, it seems to be exactly the opposite. His popularity rating is on the rise, consistently, despite several issues like communal tension, rising prices, and unemployment.

The India TV-Matrize opinion poll gives the following partywise projection, if a Lok Sabha election is held now:

NDA 362 (BJP 326, JD(U) 14, Shinde Shiv Sena 11, Others 11),

UPA 97 seats (Congress 39, DMK 25, NCP 6, RJD 4, Thackeray Shiv Sena 3, Others 20).

‘Others’ including regional parties may win 84 seats (Trinamool Congress 26, YSR Congress 9, TRS 8, Aam Aadmi Party 5, Samajwadi Party 2, independents and others 24).

The projections clearly reflect the positive effects of a strong leadership. The stronger a leader, the brighter his image, the better his electoral performance. Rahul Gandhi’s leadership is reflected poorly in the falling graph of Congress since 2014, when Modi rode to power. The survey clearly shows that the Congress may set a dubious record of touching the minimum mark. This is happening at a time when there is a global pandemic and Ukraine war causing economic crisis all over the world, and yet Modi-led NDA is set to increase its tally of seats.

It was Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal who said in Rajya Sabha that by distributing free foodgrains to millions of poor Indians during the pandemic, Modi has touched the chords of people’s hearts. This seems to be the main reason why NDA is set to improve its tally.

How Modi managed to outflank the opposition parties and become India’s No. 1 leader at this moment. To get the answer, one need not look at a survey. Opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, K. Chandrashekhar Rao and H D Devegowda have said this several times in public that one single opposition leader can never muster the strength to challenge Modi. Opposition parties need to unite to challenge Modi.

Almost all opposition leaders have achknowledged that Modi is currently India’s most popular, tallest and strongest leader. The findings of the survey only puts its seal on this sentiment. In the last eight years of his governance, Modi has enhanced his stature in politics to a level, which no other opposition leader can ever dream of. There is not a single leader who seems to have the potential to challenge him.

What are the secrets behind Modi’s popularity?

I think, the biggest reason is: Modi’s toil. He works from early morning till late in the night, whether in the field of governance or fixing BJP’s organasiational issues, or preparing the party for elections. Modi leads from the front, both in the government and in his party. Naturally, a statesman who toils hard day and night, without taking a break for recreation, is bound to become popular among the masses. In my 40-year-long career, I have never seen a leader who toiled so hard.

The second secret of Modi’s success is his schemes to help the poor and downtrodden. By implementing path breaking schemes, he gained the trust of the poorer class. Leaders who preceded Modi only used to give promises, but failed to implement. During Modi’s regime, the lower middle class and poorer sections got houses, free ration, power, water, good roads, and cooking gas. The masses felt that here was a leader who not only promises, but fulfils them at the earliest. The natural corollary: Why won’t the poor people not support Modi in that case? All these points reflect in our survey that we telecasted on Friday on India TV.

There are some other reasons why Modi’s popularity rating is on the rise. One, the common Indian believes that Modi is a staunch patriot and the nation is safe in his hands.

Two, Before Modi became PM , there was a perception among common people that leaders at the top were not honest and there is widespread corruption in politics. After Modi ruled for eight years, the man on the street has regained the trust that he had lost earlier. The people realized that there can be corruption-free governance and the leaders can be honest. The man on the street does not have an iota of doubt about Modi’s honesty.

Thirdly, the Hindu society in India now believes that the government at the Centre is no more following the policy of appeasement under Modi’s rule. Leaders of opposition parties have also started visiting temples, offering prayers, showing off their ‘janeu’ (sacred thread) and projecting themselves as a ‘good Hindu’.

Fourth point: Modi has a strong team with him that keeps a “third eye” on political opponents. This team consistently tries to put the opposition in place.

Fifthly, Compared to other parties, the leaders and workers in BJP repose their full trust in a single leader, there is no second power centre in BJP, nor is there any parallel leadership in government. The leaders and workers in BJP feel that only Modi can win the elections for the party and run the government. The India TV survey substantiates this outlook.

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