New Delhi: As India’s parties prepare for state polls ahead of next year’s general election, a survey said the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will defeat the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, which has been facing flak for its failure in checking inflation and corruption, if the polls are held now.
The survey was, however, conducted before recent changes in the leadership of both parties.
The survey, conducted by ABP News-Nielsen in 28 cities among 9,000 people across the country, found that Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, who led the BJP back to power for the third time in the recent assembly elections in the state, has emerged as the most favoured candidate for the post of Prime Minister ahead of the Congress’ Rahul Gandhi.
As many as 48% of respondents favoured Modi as Prime Minister, while only 18% wanted Rahul Gandhi to take over the top post, the survey said.
It said 39% of the electorate will vote for the NDA while the Congress-led UPA will get the backing of only 22%.
“Even on the party front, 36% of respondents in the survey are intending to vote for the BJP, if the Lok Sabha elections are held now, whereas only 18% will vote for the Sonia Gandhi-led Congress party,” according to a press note released by the surveyors.
However, it said the survey had been conducted before the Congress appointed Rahul Gandhi as vice-president last weekend. Gandhi took over as the number two in the ruling party on 19 January and the BJP elected Rajnath Singh as its new president on 23 January after Nitin Gadkari, who had been accused of financial irregularities in a land deal, stepped down from the top party post and said he wouldn’t stand for re-election.
The Left parties, the survey said, will manage to get only 3% of the votes while others will get 17%.
Experts were divided in the views over the survey’s findings. N. Bhaskara Rao, a psephologist and founding chairman of the Centre for Media Studies, said it was too early to conduct such a survey as the political situation is “volatile”.
“It doesn’t say anything about public perception, which is a bubble,” said Rao. “The scenario being so volatile, it’s not amenable for any research methodology to aggregate the level of voting.”
G.V.L. Narasimha Rao, another psephologist and a political analyst associated with the BJP, said the surveys are an indicator of the likely result.
“The survey is a projection of what is reflected on the urban youth and the way the wind is blowing. It also reflects the disenchantment of urban India. Although it’s not proper to say that this percentage of people will vote for the NDA and the UPA, popular sentiments are against the government,” he said. “The wind against the UPA is strong and has reached a stage from where reversal is not likely.”
Around 49% of those surveyed said they would vote for the BJP on the assumption that Modi will lead the party in the 2014 general election. The survey also found that 57% of respondents feel that the BJP will be more stable if Modi comes to power at the Centre.
As many as 39% of the respondents backed Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate of the ruling party while only 16% favoured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The Congress returned to power in 2009 winning 204 seats while the BJP got 115.