The vote share of the BJP and the Shiv Sena go up a mere one percentage point from 35 per cent in 2009, as also of the MNS from 4 to 5 per cent.

Maharashtra state-specific findings

Despite all the corruption charges and reports of scams, the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) coalition in Maharashtra sees a projected vote share increase of four percentage points, from 39 per cent in 2009 to 43 per cent in July 2013, according to the 2013 Hindu-CNN-IBN-CSDS election tracker.

The vote share of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena go up a mere one percentage point from 35 per cent in 2009, as also the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) from four in 2009 to five per cent in July 2013. The undecided voters in the State are quite high at 27 per cent.

In the Others category comprising sundry political parties, the vote share was 22 per cent in 2009 and this is dipping to 16 in July 2013, a reduction of six percentage points.

However, the survey says the worst rating for both the State and Central governments comes from Maharashtra where 8 out of 10 respondents rated both the governments as corrupt. A high number, 48 per cent, said no to another chance for the Congress-NCP government in the State, while 36 per cent said yes. In July 2011, 46 per cent had said no to another chance for this government and 38 per cent had said yes.

On the level of satisfaction with the State government, in Maharashtra, 64 per cent were happy with the performance while 29 were dissatisfied and this is an improvement from 55 per cent who were happy with the government in July 2011 and 32 per cent who were unhappy.

The survey says the sharpest rise in satisfaction since 2011 is in Maharashtra and Jharkand. Reacting to the survey, the Congress party says this is a reflection of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s clean image and a four percentage point vote share rise is significant. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) views this differently and says that the NCP has been taking the brunt of the irrigation scams and this is to the advantage of the Congress. Also the large number of undecided voters could have a preference closer to the election, once the BJP formalizes its prime ministerial candidate.

Even if the Congress NCP sees this as a positive sign, it does have to worry about the possibility of MNS president Raj Thackeray joining hands with the saffron alliance. As expected, the report card of the Congress-NCP government, which has ruled Maharashtra for three terms now, is moderate and, on most fronts, things have remained the same for voters. People questioned on the condition of roads, control of corruption, electricity and water supply, apart from irrigation and the condition of farmers, were quite clear that things hadn’t changed much. Also people in the rural areas, especially drought-hit Marathwada, are unhappy with the way the government handled the situation.

Springing a little surprise, the survey finds that Raj Thackeray is best suited to take forward the late Bal Thackeray’s political legacy and Raj enjoys more support from the Shiv Sainiks with 57 per cent of the sample backing him. Only 18 per cent thought Uddhav was the heir to that legacy, and 25 per cent from his party thought so.

While the Congress and the NCP are constantly bickering and saying they should part ways, they should pay heed to voters as the survey says that people want the Congress-NCP alliance to continue and support for this has come from the traditional support base of both the parties. Interestingly the poll endorsed more or less what people have been saying about the demand for the MNS and Shiv Sena to join hands. Over 40 per cent want the BJP and the Shiv Sena to continue their alliance and about 46 per cent want the BJP to ally with both the Shiv Sena and the MNS.

To a question on whether the Sena and the MNS should fight together, more Shiv Sainiks responded positively to this than MNS supporters though the study cautioned that the MNS sample size was low.

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