CSDS-Lokniti 2024 pre-poll survey | Key decisions and political implication for BJP

The CSDS-Lokniti pre-poll study conducted in April sheds light on how the Indian voters perceived these actions and intentions of the incumbent government.

April 12, 2024 05:21 am | Updated 04:31 pm IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a roadshow at T. Nagar, Chennai on April 09, 2024.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a roadshow at T. Nagar, Chennai on April 09, 2024. | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

In its second term, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government made significant constitutional changes and initiated eye-catching projects, sparking debates about its future plans and intentions. In this context, the abrogation of Article 370, hosting the G-20 Summit, and plans for a Uniform Civil Code stand out as prominent examples. While the government pushed these initiatives vigorously, the Opposition expressed scepticism. The CSDS-Lokniti pre-poll study conducted in April sheds light on how the Indian voters perceived these actions and intentions of the incumbent government.

Also Read:Lokniti CSDS pre-poll survey for 2024 Lok Sabha elections

The Central government revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 a few months into its second term. The pre-poll study indicates that one in three (34%) voters view this as a positive step, whereas one in six (16%) support the decision but question the method. Despite initial criticism, the Supreme Court upheld the decision to revoke Article 370 in late 2023. However, 8% of voters still disagree with the abrogation of Article 370. On the other hand, one in five (20%) voters are not aware of Article 370 and another two of every ten (22%) did not comment on it, revealing that significant political issues may not reach all voters (Table 1).

The government also highlighted its success in hosting the G-20 summit in India. However, nearly three in five (63%) respondents were not aware of the Summit, while nearly two in five (37%) had heard about it (Table 2).

Media played a crucial role in raising awareness, with 60% of highly exposed individuals being informed compared to only 14% with no exposure. Moreover, urban voters showed higher awareness (55%) compared to voters living in rural areas (32%) (Table 3).

The G-20 Summit sparked disagreement between the government and Opposition parties, with the latter criticising the expenditure compared to outcomes. But when voters (who were aware of G-20) were asked about their opinion on the outcome of the G-20 Summit, the majority gave positive responses. Three in ten (30%) believed that the Summit had helped India in showcasing its growing power; one in four (23%) were hopeful that the G-20 Summit would strengthen the country’s foreign trade and economy; and one in six (16%) saw it as a foreign policy achievement for the government. On the contrary, 12% consider it a waste of money, and 10% think it was politically motivated (Table 4).

The third important issue revolves around the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) which intends to implement personal laws of citizens which apply to all citizens equally regardless of their religion. With the government planning to introduce the UCC, voters’ opinions are divided. According to the survey, nearly three in ten (29%) voters believe that the UCC will empower women and provide greater equality and justice to them, whereas two in ten (19%) voters express their concerns by stating that the UCC might interfere with religious traditions by mixing personal beliefs and the legal framework. At the same time, a little over one in four (26%) chose not to express an opinion on the matter, and a similar proportion of voters indicated that they were not aware of the UCC (Table 5).

Opinions on implementing the UCC vary across different religious groups. Among Hindus, a higher proportion (31%) of voters believe that the UCC would empower women. On the other hand, Muslim voters nurture deep-seated scepticism about the UCC, as three in ten (29%) opine that it might interfere with religious traditions. Over one in three (25%) Christians hold that the UCC can lead to women’s empowerment.

The findings of the recent study therefore show that a considerable section of voters remains oblivious to some of the leading issues and events around which the government and Opposition, policymakers, as well as the media, have tried to frame India’s political discourse. Those who are aware, however, are at the same time sharply divided on these issues. But the extent to which such division would influence voting decisions will need to be carefully watched.

Jyoti Mishra and Abhinav Borbora are researchers at CSDS-Lokniti

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