India Today group conducts an opinion poll every six months – January and August. The poll has been highly regarded as its independently conducted by independent pollsters. This year, Karvy Insights was entrusted with the job.
The poll was conducted between 3rd and 13th of January, 2021. A total of 12,232 respondents were interviewed – half through face to face and the remaining over a telephone. About 8000 respondents are from rural India while the rest from urban regions.
The respondents were spread across 19 states representing 97 parliamentary seats.
Now let us get into the analysis of the Indian opinion in January 2021.
Best Prime Minister
On the question posed on the best prime minister India has ever had, the opinion was overwhelming with 38% of Indians rooting for Narendra Modi.
The next best is not surprising with AB Vajapayee at 18%. The next three prime ministers are Indira Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi.
Narendra Modi has risen above politics and has taken a position of a statesman and it is not surprising that many Indians view him as the best of the lot. The next reason would likely be attributed to our memories which are fresh and the current prime ministers are generally judged – and it can go both ways.
With the nation backing Hindutva and saffron, it is not surprising that AB Vajapayee, who was considered as the best PM until Modi assumed office is at the second spot.
What is on the expected lines is the non-feature of Manmohan Singh. With his own party vice-president, Rahul Gandhi discrediting him publicly, Manmohan has been regarded as one of the weakest prime ministers India had ever had – somebody who took orders from the Gandhis.
Best Chief Minister
With Narendra Modi with an all time high popularity as the best PM, the best chief minister post goes to another hindutva icon Yogi Adityanath.
He is followed by Arvind Kejrival, Mamata Banerjee, Nitish Kumar, Uddhav Thackeray, Naveen Patnaik and Jagan Reddy.
Yogi has dug his heels into the management of Uttar Pradesh state and has been the posterboy of innovative governance and no-holds-barred administration.
While the poll tells a story of who is considered as the best CM in India, there is a lopside to this poll. A respondent who resides in a particular state would generally vote for his respective chief minister. So in this case, the number of respondents who were picked coming through from states would make their chief ministers seem popular than others.
How else would anybody explain Mamata Banerjee and Uddhav Thackerary on the list of best CMs?
If Elections are Held Today!
If there were general elections held in January 2021, then the National Democratic Alliance will bag 321 seats. Two years back in 2019, they had 350+ seats.
With allies like Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal leaving the NDA, the numbers were expected to come down. There is no sign of anti-incumbency the numbers project. This is in line with the prime minister’s personal approval and the BJP’s overall popularity.
Congress on the other hand seems to be a diminishing force. It is projected to get 51 seats which is less than what it bagged 2 years back. Without an able captain, no ship can reach its destination and Congress is not an exception.
Modi’s Report Card
When asked to rate Narendra Modi’s performance, the results overwhelming favored the statesman.
A third rated him as outstanding and another 44% as good. So, in essence, about 75% of the respondents shared positive reviews. Compare this to any other leader won democratically across other countries, it is doubtful for them to reach the 40-50% range.
However, it is also true that in difficult times, citizens rally behind their leader and support unequivocally. This is visible in the MOTN polls held in August 2020 and January 2021 – the times of corona. Earlier, the range was still good, but not as it is now.
Modi 2.0 Greatest Achievement
When asked about what they felt was the greatest achievement of Modi’s second innings, Ram Janmabhoomi resolution was on top of list followed by Article 370 revocation and then covid.
We can read two things from this study. 1. India is turning saffron with hindutva leading the general conscience. 2. Ram janmabhoomi is a conflict that has garnered public’s imagination as an irresolvable conflict. So a permanent judgement to construct the Ram temple, although delivered by the supreme court, gets attributed to Modi, as he is seen as the torch bearer of the Hindu religion.
The top most achievement for Indians, the Hindu icon getting restored, next the state of Jammu and Kashmir’s rejoinder into the Indian state without special autonomy and then finally came a pandemic that has raged across countries. It is interesting to note that although India has managed the pandemic better than most western countries, the matter is not considered as the greatest achievement by Indians. It tells us that Indians have disregarded covid as a threat, given the low numbers and religion and state comes before natural disasters.
Should Congress Kick the Gandhis Out?
When asked about the role of Gandhis and if the Congress is better off without the Gandhis, overwhelming majority of said yes and a third sided with the dynasty.
Congressmen should note the mood of the nation where they can see the Gandhis dragging the age old party down to the dumps. Sadly enough, Congressmen who can effect the change are holding onto the Gandhi tails for their own survival.
There have been several TV debates and opinions by political analysts that for the Indian opposition to grow any teeth, it must have a strong leadership that has an alternate vision, and this leadership is clearly not visible in the Gandhis. The people have spoken election after election that they do not trust the Gandhi clan and now the opinion poll favors the same sentiment too. It is said that by June this year, the Congress would have a new president. In all likelihood, it is going to be Rahul Gandhi, who is probably destined to take the party into the drains.
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