Rama Krishna Sangem
This is the gist of India Today’s Mood of the Nation survey aired on August 24, Thursday night. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seen by people as a trustworthy and strong leader. This image of him can bring votes to BJP across the country in May 2024 Lok Sabha elections. But, ruling BJP is not in commanding heights of electoral popularity. The party may come back to power with a tally of 287, 15 seats more than the halfway mark of 272 in LS.
Is this a good news or cause of worry to the BJP leadership? Maybe both. Because, the real news is Rahul Gandhi is picking slowly but steadily. His popularity rate even within the opposition camp is rising from 11 per cent a year ago to close to 24 per cent now – middle of August. People look at him, after his Bharat Jodo Yatra, as a leader with stamina and credibility.
Still, Congress tally is projected at just 74 MPs, 19 more than its 2019 figure. The position of INDIA front, of which Congress is a central partner, is better. The opposition camp is expected to get 192 seats, as against ruling NDA’s 302 MPs. Others are projected to bag 44 MPs. As of now, these others include six parties – BSP, BRS, BJD, YCP, TDP and JD(S). These are the big parties which are neither in NDA nor in INDIA.
On popular vote share wise, ruling BJP is at 38 per cent while Congress is at 20 per cent. However, when it comes to NDA, the vote share is 43 per cent and that of INDIA is 41 per cent. So, the role of non-Congress parties in INDIA – like DMK, TMC and SP and JD(U) is significant. They will fetch more votes and seats to INDIA at the national level, than the singular tally of Congress.
Issues are unimportant
One notable feature of this survey is that major issues like price rise and unemployment are not going to play a major role in the coming LS elections. Usually, for any incumbent PM who holds office for 10 years, third term is a difficult task. The same we saw in the case of Manmohan Singh in 2014. But, in case of Modi, he is in a better position. People think he is a better PM compared to Rahul or any other opposition leader.
Close to 50 per cent think Modi is bested suited for PM post. Even among BJP leaders, that maybe after Modi, Amit Shah is favoured for PM post with 26 per cent support while Yogi Adityanath is with 23 per cent support. Rajnath and Gadkari come way behind. So, Modi is a stronger leader not only in BJP camp, but also among all the players. Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal are in the race, but their national level appeal is falling over the months.
So, what will happen now? Will these trends continue or PM Modi image will rise drastically? BJP’s tally will go up steeply? The LS polls are still eight months away. This a long period in politics. Rahul is starting his Bharat Jodo Yatra 2.0 from Porbander in Gujarat on October 2, to travel up to the Northeast by January 2024. Will this yatra help him more votes? How will PM Modi neutralize the opposition onslaught? We should wait for answers.