On behalf of ABP News Network, leading Indian research agency CVoter (Center For Voting Opinions and Trends in Election Research) conducts ongoing “Mood of the Nation” political surveys or polls. Their latest poll of 1.39 lakh people spread across all 543 Lok Sabha constituencies was conducted between January 1 and May 28, 2021, and the results were made public yesterday, May 31.
An analysis of this extensive poll shows that not only are Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party far removed from public opinion on most issues but also that less than one out of seven Indians will vote for Rahul as prime minister. Less than 26.5% of people want any Congress PM.
Let us look at the answers to all the questions that were asked to these 1.39 lakh voters, which is a far higher sample size than most such surveys globally.
Please do note that I have created all these graphs after excluding people who answered “Don’t Know/Can’t Say” to each of the questions, and then diving the remaining responses in proportion.
The first and probably most important question is the public satisfaction with the work of the Modi Government. Do keep in mind that, for more than 55% of the period that this poll was conducted, the nation was going through the worst period in history than anyone living today has experienced—the devastating second wave of COVID-19.
In this backdrop, the 61.8% ‘approval rating’ for the ‘Modi Sarkar’ is more than remarkable.
Among five states (Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Punjab) for which CVoter has provided separate results to us, the positive rating for Modi Sarkar was the highest in Maharashtra (where there is a ‘tripos’ government including the Congress party and a state whose Shiv Sena Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is referred to as #BestCM by several Leftists on social media) at 63.6%, followed very closely (and surprisingly) by West Bengal at 63.1%. The Central Government’s rating was the lowest in Punjab at only 34.1%. I expected its rating to be the lowest in Tamil Nadu, but it was much higher in the largest Southern state at 44.4%.
Another big surprise was Gujarat, the home state of PM Modi, and his No.2, Home Minister Amit Shah, which was in the middle with 59%.
Obviously, the farmer agitation, which is strongest in Punjab, has taken its toll, and the BJP can forget about winning any seats in the Punjab state assembly elections scheduled for February 2022. The party won just 3 out of 117 seats in 2017, compared with 23 in 2012.
However, when asked who they are most angry with, as many as 51.7% said that s/he is most angry with the Modi Government.
This is weird, isn’t it? When people are asked if they are satisfied with the Modi Government, 61.8% say yes, but when asked almost the same thing in another way, 51.7% say they are angry with the same government. Analyzing these kinds of responses to surveys needs a deep psychological study.
The next question pertains to the personal popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, or rather the percentage of people who are satisfied with his work as India’s fourth-longest-serving prime minister, and the longest-serving PM who does not belong to the Congress party.
Here, there was no big surprise in the overall national ratings, especially in the (by now) acceptable fact that Modi’s ‘approval rating’ of 63.7% is higher than his government’s 61.8%.
Among the five states named earlier, his personal rating was the highest in his home state of Gujarat at 68%, followed closely by Maharashtra at 66.4%. West Bengal came a close third at 63.4%.
Tamil Nadu gave him a positive rating of 51.1%, contrary to the belief of the Twitterati, who probably base their opinions on the hashtag #GoBackModi whenever the prime minister visits the state.
The PM’s rating was again the lowest in Punjab at only 35.6%, a wee bit better than his government’s rating in that ‘rich farmer’ state.
It is interesting to note that Narendra Modi’s approval rating has hovered between a low of 63% and a high of 77% during the same period as this poll was conducted, in American market research company Morning Consult’s “Global Leader Approval Rating Tracker”, which tracks the leaders of the world’s 13 largest economies (except China and Russia) on a weekly basis. Modi supporters and fans, or ‘Bhakts’ as they are referred to fondly by the Anti-Modi Brigade, will be pleased to know that Modi has been No.1 among these 13 world leaders every week for the past 17 months, if not longer.
What did people say about the biggest achievement during the second term of the Modi Government, which completed two years after this poll was conducted? Out of several questions asked, only four got more than 5% votes. And, surprise, surprise! All these four ‘achievements’ of the Modi Government were opposed in Parliament or in courts by the principal opposition party, the Congress.
The maximum votes (47.4%) were for the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which had granted ‘special status’ to the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).
On August 5, 2019, Home Minister Amit Shah announced in Parliament that the President of India had issued The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019, superseding the Presidential Order (“PO”) of 1954. Whereas the 1954 PO specified that only some articles of the Constitution apply to J&K, the 2019 PO removed all such restrictions. Shah also introduced a Bill to convert J&K from a state into two UTs, the UT of Jammu and Kashmir and the UT of Ladakh. The Bill was passed on August 5 by the Rajya Sabha with a 67.2% majority. The next day, it was passed by Lok Sabha with an 84.1% majority. It was supported by many opposition parties, including AAP, BJD, BSP, TDP, and YSRCP. The Bill was opposed by the two main Kashmiri parties, JKNC and JKPDP, which can be understood. But it was also opposed by the Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK, and NDA-partner JDU.
The second highest votes (23.7%) went to the Supreme Court decision of November 9, 2019, allowing the construction of the Ram Mandir at the earlier ‘disputed’ site. Cases relating to the title of the land had been going on for 69 years. Though technically this was not a ‘Modi Sarkar achievement’ but maybe it could be credited for pursuing the matter more vigorously than earlier governments. It must be noted that on December 5, 2017, senior Congress leader and senior lawyer Kapil Sibal argued for deferment of hearing of the Ayodhya dispute till the completion of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Yes, in one way or the other, the Congress managed to postpone the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya for 69 years.
As most readers would already know, Congress also opposed the Citizenship Amendment Act, which it opposed first in July 2016 and then again in December 2019, when it was finally passed.
Amongst Modi 2.0’s biggest failures, it was not surprising to see “Failure to handle the Corona crisis effectively” and “Dissatisfaction and anger in the farming community over new farm laws” as No.1 and No.2 respectively, since these were both the main national issues during the survey period.
However, it was surprising to see “Border dispute with China” and “Riots in the national capital during protests against CAA” as numbers three and four.
In my opinion, China is to blame for the border dispute and not the Modi Government. But it seems that Rahul Gandhi got his message across to 8.9% of the people.
Similarly, how can the Modi Government be responsible for the Northeast Delhi riots over the CAA Bill, which led to 53 deaths?
The riots were clearly ‘planned and organized’ by opponents of the government. Umar Khalid of the infamous JNU incident has been arrested for his alleged involvement. Former AAP councilor Tahir Hussain confessed that he incited people to unleash violence. He met Khalid at an office of the extremist Islamic organization PFI in Shaheen Bagh on January 8, 2020. The PFI allegedly provided ₹120 crores for riots. After every round of communal trouble or busting of a terror module, PFI’s name usually crops up these days.
It is interesting to recall that, when the PFI was fighting a legal case in 2019, it employed senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal for ₹77 lakhs as its lawyer.
Next, I am going to talk about the poll question which makes the headline of this article. Yes, Narendra Modi still remains the most popular choice to get elected again as the next PM, if elections were held today, that too with an absolute majority of over 50% of the votes.
Rahul Gandhi is a distant second, with just 13.95%. The three top Congress candidates, Rahul, former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh, and Sonia Gandhi, put together got only 24.37% of the votes, less than half of Modi’s votes.
Arvind Kejriwal was fourth with 7.786% (below Manmohan’s 7.847%), while Mamata Banerjee only got 4.32%. If wishes were dreams, beggars
In an American-style two-candidate election (also prevalent in over 55 other countries) between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, Modi with 55.43% of the votes beats Rahul with 33.21% fair and square. If we remove the ‘NOTA’ votes, Modi gets a whopping 62.53% majority, with Rahul only managing 37.47%.
It must be noted that these relatively high numbers for Rahul are only the anti-Modi votes, as the previous question showed him getting only 13.95% when there are several choices.
If India does change our electoral system to either a presidential form of government or a direct election between two leading candidates (after runoffs or qualifying rounds to select the candidate) for the post of PM, it will be almost impossible for Rahul to be accepted or elected as the ‘one’ to run against Narendra Modi.
We next come to the approval ratings of Home Minister and former BJP chief Amit Shah, who is clearly No.2 in the government as well as the party.
Shah is the most likely BJP/NDA candidate for the post of PM when Narendra Modi retires in September/October 2025, on attaining the age of 75, a rule the PM has followed for all his Union Ministers since the beginning of his first term.
As we see here, Shah has an approval rating of 56.4%. Though this is much lower than Modi’s 63.7%, it is still above the majority mark.
If the ‘Revocation of Article 370’, the Citizenship Amendment Act and the law to ban Triple Talaq got a combined approval rating of 59.3%, how did Shah only get 56.4%, since all three moves were spearheaded by him?
Let’s move on to a question about what voters think about their Members of Parliament (MPs). The overall approval rating is 59%, but it is difficult to analyze this further without knowing the votes for each MP. But neither do I have the time nor the inclination to undertake something of that magnitude.
I’m more interested in seeing the opinions/answers of the 1.39 lakh respondents to the next two questions, which are about the approval rating for the members of the Nehru-Gandhi-Vadra dynasty, India’s oldest political dynasty which directly or indirectly ruled for 50 years 8 months 16 days.
The first question asks what people say about ‘interim’ Congress president Sonia Gandhi. She may be interim now, but the reality is that barring 20 months from Dec 2017 to Aug 2019 when her son Rahul was party president, she has been Congress president for more than 23 years. During her ‘reign’, the party has seen an average 31.6% decline in vote share and a 50.2% decline in seats in the Lok Sabha.
Here too, Sonia doesn’t score well and fails to get even a 50% approval.
Among the five states named earlier, her rating was the highest in Tamil Nadu at 68.6%, while 45.4% answered as “Don’t Know/Can’t Say”. People tell me that Tamilians hate Modi as he speaks in Hindi—I didn’t know that Madam speaks Tamil. The only other state where she got a positive rating was Maharashtra (53.6%). West Bengal gave her 49.3%. Punjab, where there is a Congress government, only gave her 40.2%. Gujarat gave 38.2%.
Let’s move on to the one and only Rahul Gandhi. Yes, he beat his mummyji … but he too failed to get 50%. What’s wrong? Indians don’t respect God anymore? Imagine, if 50.5% of Indians are not satisfied with Rahul even as an opposition leader, what would be the situation if he was the real leader of our country? Also, a gentle reminder … Modi got 63.7%.
Among the five states, his rating was the highest in Tamil Nadu at 72.2%. He must be secretly speaking Tamil. Rahul got 58% approval in Maharashtra, 51% in West Bengal, 40% in Punjab, and 35.9% in Gujarat.
Punjab residents gave 42.5% to their MP, 42.2% to Capt. Amarinder Singh, 40.2% to Sonia, 40% to Rahul, 35.6% to Modi, and 31.7% to Amit Shah. Are they satisfied with anyone?
The next set of questions pertain not to a party, a government, or a leader, but to the state of affairs in the nation, and how it has impacted the lives of Indians.
The first one is about the respondent’s living standard in the last one year.
Only 17.4% said that his or her living standard has improved in the past year, while 27.8% said it has remained the same and 54.8% said it has worsened.
This is not surprising, considering how severely the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all economies of the world. How would India be any different?
The next question was about hope for the future. What do people feel about how their living standard will be in the next one year?
Here, the answers were a lot more positive, with as many as 41.9% being hopeful of an improvement as against 43.8% still being gloomy. However, the difference is tiny.
Overall, it is good to know that 56.2% of Indians are not thinking too badly about their future.
What is the biggest problem that the nation is facing today? What would you say? I would definitely say the COVID-19 pandemic. Well, that’s what most people said, too!
All-time favorites such as ‘unemployment’ and ‘price rise’ came second and third, respectively.
Almost an equal number voted for ‘corruption and the issue of their economic status/family income, and poverty.
The Congress party will be shocked to know that only 3.86% of people across the nation believe that issues related to agriculture or farmers are India’s biggest problem today. Perhaps, they should refocus their strategy and employ their energy on more relevant issues to counter the prime minister and his government.
Look at the answers to the next two questions.
Either most people did not understand the second question properly, or they have total faith in what the prime minister decides.
But then, the answers to the next question counter my own argument.
Two-thirds of the 1.39 lakh people who were surveyed opined that Modi should not have participated in the election campaign for four states and one UT during February-April 2021.
At least this is one question that answers should make Modi-opponents very happy.
Even the PM himself, as well as his party colleagues, should mull over this public opinion.
The next one is about one of my favorite subjects—the redevelopment of the Central Vista in New Delhi. My two sets of articles on this issue have been published in three online news portals and have been read by more than 11,000 people. Here is a link t
The project has been subject to a lot of criticism by Modi’s opponents led by the Congress, for various reasons, that you can read about here.
It has also been under legal scrutiny by the Delhi High Court as well as the Supreme Court since PILs against it was filed by vested interests. But Modi passes the test of public opinion in this poll, although by a small margin.
Modi also passed two more tests which are very important in the current scenario. The first pertains to his government’s management of the COVID-19 vaccination program, where the government passes with a thin margin.
The second is a question that asks whether the Modi Sarkar was correct in exporting vaccines. Here, the government passes with a bigger margin.
Let us now add Mr. Tweeter to the COVID-19 equation.
Rahul Gandhi puts out 2-4 tweets a day criticizing Modi for mishandling the pandemic. The Congress averages as many as 35-45 per day.
But what does the ‘Janata believe?
Almost three out of four people across India said that “PM Modi is handling the Corona crisis in the best possible manner.” In urban India, the number was 76.6%.
Only 25.9% said that “If Rahul was the PM, he would have handled it in a better manner.” Rahul got 26.9% votes from the rural population.
Will Rahul or the Congress party reduce their tweets and do some work to help the nation in this crisis? Probably not. For them, tweeting is perhaps the way to increase their Lok Sabha seat share from 52 to 80+ in 2024.
Another important question has been whether the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar should have been canceled. Many Modi-baiters, including 20+ international newspapers and magazines, have called it India’s biggest super-spreader of COVID-19.
Only about 20% of people said that it was fine for the Hindu festival to be held as it is, with the support from rural India even lower at 19.2%.
Moving on, a question was asked about who is responsible for the rise in fuel prices. As many as 54.3% said it was the Central Government, with only 24.5% blaming the state governments, and the remaining 21.2% blaming the oil companies.
The Modi Government has to properly educate the public about this issue, as it will affect their votes and seats in assembly as well as general elections.
Even highly educated people with B.Tech, CA, and MBA degrees do not understand that the taxes imposed by the states on fuel prices (including the states’ share of national taxes) are higher than those imposed/accruing to the Central Government.
Even the answers to the next question show how poor the Modi Government’s and the BJP’s communication strategy is.
As many as 64.4% (65.9% in rural India) say that big corporate houses have benefitted the most from Modi Government’s work, while 16.2% say small businesses are the biggest beneficiaries. Businesses as a whole get a whopping 80.6% of the votes.
The reality is very different. Modi’s government is as best a ‘socialist government and most of the money it spends is for the class of people who got only 12% of the votes across India, and only 11.1% from rural India—farmers and laborers.
Why are the Modi Government and the BJP as well as their allies not able to communicate this properly?
This communication strategy fails again when it comes to the question of the Chinese incursion into the Ladakh region of North India.
As many as 54.6% of the people across India, and 57% in rural India, call it a failure of the Modi Government. How? Where exactly did the Modi Government fail?
China captured Ladakh’s Aksai Chin area of 37,244 km2 in 1962. It also got the 6,993 km2 Shaksgam tract from Pakistan in 1963, thus illegally occupying a total of 44,237 km2 of Indian territory since then. Both happened during the Nehru era.
Then, during the ‘Sonia Sarkar’ when Dr. Manmohan Singh was her ‘appointed puppet prime minister’, China occupied 640-750 km2 of our territory in Eastern Ladakh. China’s People’s Liberation Army made nearly 600 incursions into Indian territory between 2010 and 2013 (Sonia Sarkar period), including an incursion of 19-km inside Indian territory in April 2013.
During the Modi era, not a single km2 of our territory has fallen to Chinese hands. I have confirmed this with as many as nine very senior retired military officers whose juniors now hold the top ranks in our Armed Forces.
Yet, the Indian public at large does not know these facts, because they have not (yet!) been included in our history books. The education minister must immediately get someone to create a booklet on modern history (India Since Independence) and make it a compulsory course in Class 6-7 of all schools, regardless of the Board it is affiliated with.
Some things must be done in the national interest.
As we are coming to the final set of questions, perhaps the most important are the ones pertaining to Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).
Here, two questions were asked. The first was whether the revocation of Article 370 has led to a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue. I would like to ask CVoter, shouldn’t the question have been, “Will the revocation of Article 370 lead to a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue?”, as I don’t think the ‘issue’ has been permanently resolved yet. Do you?
Anyway, a huge 62.7% of the respondents said yes. The number saying yes was 64.64% in urban India. Do note that the Congress had opposed this move,
To the second question whether the situation in Kashmir has improved in the past two years (since the revocation of Article 370 and division of the erstwhile state of J&K into two UTs), a whopping 74.6% across India and 79.5% in urban India said yes.
Once again, a whopping 71% of people across India and 76.7% in urban India said that the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act was a correct decision.
As many as 29% in rural India answered “Don’t Know/Can’t Say” to this question.
Article 370, CAA, NRC, and the Triple Talaq Ban are all seen as bold ‘nationalist’ moves by Modi, and these get the BJP a huge percentage of the total votes that it gets.
The BJP is not able to make inroads into Tamil Nadu and Kerala as most people in those states are least concerned about ‘nationalist’ issues and are more concerned with ‘regionalism’.
Only 17.8% of the total 1.39 lakh people (12.5% in urban India and 19.7% in rural India) said that “India’s relations with different countries of the world” have worsened under Modi.
I wonder how many Muslims were part of the rural India sample because this is definitely the most biased answer in the entire poll.
On the question of whether the Modi Government should have accepted the protesting farmers’ demands (including repealing the new farm laws), a majority of 56.1% said yes. Once again, this is a communication failure of the Modi Government and the BJP, as well as its allies.
The aggressive opposition to the farm reforms is because yet another source of corruption has been removed by Modi. Commission agents’ fat profits and monopolies will become history, and state governments (especially Punjab and Haryana) will lose sizeable revenue from mandi fees. These ‘interest groups’ have convinced many uneducated or gullible farmers that the new laws will end the government’s MSP support and thus harm them. Only 6% of Indian farmers sell on MSP. Should the welfare of 94% be sacrificed for this 6%?
The reforms will drastically increase the profitability of Indian farmers. As in any other industry, once profit is earned, it will be reinvested back for generating better quality and quantity of produce. They won’t just transform the agricultural sector, but the entire rural economy.
If you want to better understand this issue of the farm reforms and why some vested interests are opposing them, read my book Congress-Mukt Bharat which you can buy on Amazon.
In conclusion, it is clear that, despite the best efforts of Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, Mamata Banerjee, Uddhav Thackeray, and the rest of the Anti-Modi Brigade (including of course the Leftist media), Modi’s image has not been hurt by the devastating second wave of COVID-19 (except the fact of his campaigning for state elections), as it has been by the Chinese incursion into Ladakh, the farmer protests, the rising fuel prices, and the perception that he is pro-big business rather than pro-farmers and laborers.
Therefore, to really hurt him, Rahul should readopt the “Suit Boot ki Sarkar” jibe, and stop attacking him on COVID-19 and the Central Vista Project.
However, if national elections were to be held tomorrow, the Congress party may improve their seat share—maybe even double it to 104 seats—but they have no chance to beat Narendra Modi, who remains as the ‘leader of choice’ for a majority of Indians.
Read my Other Articles
DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author.