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BJP gains, Modi’s popularity dips

Smita Gupta
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The BJP’s 2009 vote share in Gujarat could rise by seven percentage points if the general election was to be held now, even though Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity has plunged five percentage points in his home State — 49 per cent to 44 per cent — since his government returned to power last December and satisfaction with his administration slipped from 72 per cent to 64 per cent since July 2011.

Mr. Modi may have emerged in the public domain as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate for 2014, but two other Chief Ministers belonging to his party, find greater favour with the people of their own States. The level of satisfaction with Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s government in Madhya Pradesh is 82 per cent and Raman Singh’s government in Chhattisgarh is 75 per cent. Mr. Modi’s government? Just 64 per cent.

These are some of the confounding findings of the CNN-IBN-The Hindu Election Tracker, conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Observers say that this shows there are problems with Mr. Modi’s famed model of development, and a looming gap between his governance — often marked by serious corruption charges and dissatisfaction with the administration — and Mr. Modi’s perceived leadership qualities, a factor that apparently papers over the cracks. The survey’s seemingly contradictory findings may also explain why the Congress’s meticulously collated statistics about corruption, Gujarat’s relatively poor social indicators and Mr. Modi attributing high malnutrition rates in his State to young women being “beauty-conscious” were swept away by the BJP’s high-octane, glitzy, show-stopping campaign during last year’s assembly elections. Or it may well be that the impact of the handling of the anti-Muslim riots of 2002 in Gujarat left the majority that votes for Mr. Modi with the lasting impression that what they need is a “strong” leader.

The level of satisfaction with Shivraj Singh Chauhan is 82 per cent and Raman Singh is 75 per cent


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