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One Man's Worth Narendra Modi – IBTL Opinion Poll 2013
Some say that he does not have the wide acceptability among the opposition as Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He does not possess the vast unmatched decades of political experience as Shri LK Advani. He is not as powerful orator as Sushma Swaraj or as sophisticated politician as Arun Jaitley. He does not have a strong kick start before him, prepared by his family as Rahul Gandhi. He does not hold higher degrees in education like Manmohan Singh nor is he a multi millionaire like some of the other politicians in business; and yet he is currently the most popular Indian leader in India and abroad. The 4 time Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi commands a position today, enviable by any other politician in or against his side. He is a true crowd puller, drawing masses towards him wherever he goes.
IBTL conducted an online survey (1st of its kind) in the Social Media to arrive out at a Projection for the next General Elections. We received responses from 5,684 unique respondents. Given that, the platform was Social Media, it was expected that Narendra Modi would emerge out to be the most popular leader and that BJP would outshine its rivals but what was surprising, was the emphatic margin which they scored over rivals. In a 3 part series, we would adopt a format of expressing the results of the Opinion Poll survey along with analysis of governing factors for the past and future general Elections. The Seat and Vote share projection would also be made for 2 different scenarios.
Scenario 1: Narendra Modi is not declared the NDA PM candidate
Scenario 2: Narendra Modi is declared the NDA PM candidate
In, both the scenarios, it would be assumed that NDA is intact and consists of following constituent parties: BJP, JDU, Shiv Sena, Shiromani Akali Dal, Haryana Jan hit Congress, INLD, Nationalist People’s party, Nagaland People’s Front. UPA would consist of following: INC, NCP, National Conference, Kerala Congress, and Muslim League. All other parties would fall under ‘Others’. We would not show any projection for Political blocks as Third Front or Fourth Front, because of the confusing nature of the constituent parties and the extremely high volatility of these blocks.
Most Preferred Prime Ministerial Candidate (In %age terms)
Of the total 5,684 respondents, a whopping 75.3% preferred Narendra Modi. Rahul Gandhi emerged a far distant 2nd choice with 6.4% choosing him. Sushma Swaraj of BJP got 5.6 %, followed by LK Advani at 3.7% and Arun Jaitley at 2.9%. The 2 time and the incumbent PM Manmohan Singh was preferred only by 2% of the respondents. Narendra Modi was found more popular in the 35-45 and the 25-35 year old age groups. The difference between Narendra Modi and other contenders both from his party and outside is phenomenal. Let us try to explore some of the reasons of his immense popularity.
Narendra Modi – Miles Apart : It is true that Gujarat under Narendra Modi has seen unprecedented development, but is it work alone that places Narendra Modi in a position he is in? Answer is No. BJP Chief Ministers SS Chauhan and Raman Singh are also associated with development politics. The states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, and Maharashtra have got higher FDI (one of the many parameters) than Gujarat. Bihar grows at a higher rate than Gujarat. So what is it that sets Narendra Modi miles apart from other leaders?
• Positive Politics – How many times have you heard Narendra Modi doing caste or vote bank politics? Modi is an OBC leader, but he has never taken political advantage of that position. How often has he been the victim of malicious campaign with reference to 2002 riots? He has never given any clarification or attacked the Media back nor has he filed any defamation suit against any of the TV channels, despite getting clean chit from Supreme Court formed SIT. His good old ‘friend’ Nitish Kumar has often questioned his Secular Credentials? How many of you have seen Narendra Modi retaliating to those remarks from his ‘friend’ Nitish Kumar? The truth is, Narendra Modi has always let his work do the talking. We would uncover some of the common criticisms of Narendra Modi in the next part. This part is dedicated only to his strengths. And as for the talk of Secularism, inclusive growth & favouring only the Hindus for development, his critics would do well to check the per capita income of Muslims in all the states of India and then be surprised to see which State does have the highest per capita income for Muslims.
• People’s Voice – NaMo touches the deepest nerve of the Aam Junta. On important issues, he speaks the same language, the same tone and the same thing which a COMMON MAN would want to. How many of us were enraged by Pakistan’s sly act of beheading 2 Indian Jawans’ heads in LOC? Most of us did not want to go on into a direct war with Pakistan, but most of us did not want to sit back and accept the outrageous behaviour either. We wanted to teach them a lesson. If not a Military conflict, at least in some way which would make it clear that India would not take such nonsense of ‘Aman Ki Asha’ from the front and backstabbing from behind. During all this, Congress Cabinet Ministers and the PM himself failed to take any tough stand and were adamant on keeping the so called ‘Dialogue processes on with Pakistan. It was in this moment, when Narendra Modi took the hard step of sending back all the Pakistani delegates in the Vibrant Gujarat summit. It might be a small step but that is what any one in India would have done. Narendra Modi therefore is connected to the masses unlike his rivals in Congress who are busy serving biryani to Pakistani leaders. Indo-Pak conflict wrt beheading of soldiers deserves a separate analysis and we would leave cover it sometime later. NaMo is criticized for not speaking on all the matters of national importance, but when he speaks, he connects with the Common Man.
• One Stop Solution – Narendra Modi is an expert in hunting down a pack with just one arrow. Take down the following examples.
Solar Power – NaMo planned to install solar power panels across Gujarat. This step ensured multiple things at a time: a) Address the power needs b) Since the panels were installed over River; it stopped unnecessary evaporation of water, thereby saving water in Dry Gujarat. c) Reduced Gujarat’s dependence on Conventional sources of energy ‘Petroleum’
Urban Waste Management – In the IT conclave, NaMo talked about driving the waste city waters to the outskirts. This would result in a) Better environmental balance in polluted Indian cities b) Processed waste water could be utilized for Agri purposes to grow vegetables just outside the city c) Since this is done just outside the city, farmers would get easy access to nearby city markets and the people would get fresh vegetables
- Toll Booth – Installation of toll booths in borders shared with Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. This has helped a) Reduce corruption b) Raise additional funds to the tunes of Hundreds of Crores
These are just examples to showcase that, willpower and smart thinking has enabled NaMo to achieve remarkable results. That he is not hesitant to borrow ideas from other states, even if they are Non BJP states, show his willingness to address problems. No wonder today Gujarat is a 24*7 power supplied state.
• DareDevil – The biggest rival BJP had or has in the present is the Congress. In spite of this, the BJP seems wary of taking on the Congress directly. Be it allegations on Robert Vadra, Cash for Vote scam, 2G, Coalgate; BJP is always found not attacking the Congress as much as it should. Not very long ago, Mr Advani apologized to Sonia Gandhi for his remarks on cash for Vote scam. Ever since Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s retirement, BJP has struggled to get a dominating leader who would take on the top leadership of Congress. A usually silent PM, Manmhohan Singh was heard thundering Shayaris, after being termed Night Watchman by Modi. NaMo, also stroked the Congress, hardest on a spot, it would get hurt the most. He took on the Gandhi Family and said things which were obvious to the public, but never uttered by any other BJP leaders of the present. Such daring acts make him fall in a different league altogether
• Widest Acceptability – Narendra Modi is perhaps the most widely accepted leader, maybe even more than Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It is true that large sections of Media, opposition parties and a class of intellectuals are in denial mode about Modi as PM and they do not support NaMo as they would have supported Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the past. However NaMo finds support from different classes which even AB Vajpayee couldn’t manage. He is a hot favourite among urban middle class youths of the city. He is blessed by the Sadhus and Sanyasis (as evident in his recent Kumbh visit). Modi is declared as the fittest candidate for PM by the top industrialists of the country. He is liked by the farmers equally. The NRI community residing outside India is more than eager to hear him out. His technological proximity and presence in Social Media make him popular among college going students. The crowd swell he attracted in his recent visits to West Bengal, Kerala and Karnataka seal him as being one of the most popular North Indian leaders in South India. His good relationship with possible NDA allies such as AIADMK, BJD and TMC are also well known
• Popular CM with Non Populist Measures – Not only Congress but other parties like SP, DMK, Akali Dal etc have won elections using populist schemes. Ours is a country where many voters vote for 10kg rice, laptops, TVs, 1000 cash, and worst of all, a bottle of liquor. Narendra Modi is never known to have won elections at the back of Populist schemes. He rather wins them with productive politics. One may wonder why Populist schemes be so important factor in elections. To them the simple answer is that even a charismatic leader like Atal Bihari Vajpayee lost elections after creating a ‘Feel Good’ atmosphere, just because he didn’t have enough populist schemes under his bag. A detail on reasons of 2004 election loss is presented later. Under these situations, if NaMo wins elections 3 times in a row and that too with 2/3rds majority, it is no less than a miracle and speaks volumes about his Aura.
• The Policymaker – We all know that China intruded in some parts of India and set up a camp there. Pakistan beheaded our soldiers; Italy left us fuming by not sending 2 naval guards under trial and even smaller nations like Sri Lanka and Maldives not paying heed to India. India’s foreign policy has gone from bad to worse. Economic policy looks no better with country recording its worst over growth rate in the last 10 years. Under these circumstances, if Gujarat records a very high growth rate, it is more than just remarkable. NaMo’s closeness to Japan is also well known, Japan is a sworn enemy of China and at a time when Chinese or Pakistanis intruded, the time demands growing better relations with their rivals so as to hedge your position. NaMo’s strategy would be to get in countries like Japan, Israel etc as aides by taking stands, which leaders of Congress, right from Nehru’s time have failed to do
Opinion Poll Projections – North, East and the North East regions
There are many more revelations which the IBTL 2013 opinion Poll would make; all in the coming parts. Let’s now focus on why the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee fell in the 2004 General Elections and once the reasons are explored, it would further make it clear the importance of Narendra Modi in the 2014 elections.
Causes of Loss by NDA in 2004 elections and Lessons
• Alliance, A Winning Combination UP’A’ – After the NDA government lost the No Confidence motion by 1 vote in the year 1999, the concept that a Coalition government cannot survive for more than 1 year, was further strengthened. In the 1999 General elections, BJP under Atal Bihari Vajpayee formed a pre poll Alliance with almost 2 dozen political parties. BJP won a good number of seats in states such as Haryana, Orissa, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Punjab, where it had no presence. Pre poll Alliance meant that a strong ally would not contest from a seat where BJP is contesting, thereby ensuring that the bulk of its traditional votes are being transferred to BJP. Congress, although being the oldest party of India was a novice to this technique. It formed pre poll alliance with parties with strong vote bank in 2004, such as JMM in Jharkhand, RJD in Bihar, NCP in Maharashtra, DMK/MDMK in Tamil Nadu, TRS in Andhra Pradesh, PDP in Jammu & Kashmir etc. The BJP got shock of its life, when Congress defeated it in its own game, i.e. forming a winning combination of Pre Poll Alliance. Result was obvious, BJP which did well in these states in the previous elections got routed, because of the Congress Strategy of pre poll Alliance politics
• Lack of Populist Schemes – The Congress has always thrived on getting votes of the poorest of the poor class, which are abundant and who are lured by populist schemes. The strategy seems to be working well for Congress since the ‘Garibi Hatao’ Yojna started by Indira Gandhi in the 1970s. Coupled with the vote bank politics of appeasing the Minorities, Congress forms an unbreakable combination. BJP on the other hand relied on its urban middle class voters. The Minorities and the other traditional vote bank of Congress, came out and voted in large numbers to oust the NDA
• Overconfidence of the MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan Assembly results – BJP won handsomely in these 3 states in November 2003. There was still almost a year left for the General elections, but the Top leadership of BJP got overconfident with results from these 3 states where BJP secured thumping victories. So much and so forth was the overconfidence that BJP forgot the Assembly results from other bigger states such as UP, Bihar, Maharashtra etc where it had lost
• Low Voter Turnout – It is said that a low voter turnout is considered to be a good sign for the incumbent party. In 2004 general elections, the voter turnout was slightly lower than normal. It can be safely assumed that the traditional BJP middle class voters did not vote in large numbers. Various opinion polls in Late 2003 and early 2004 predicted 300+ seats for NDA. The voters were too lazy to put in an effort, as their party was cruising for a thumping win. The party workers and cadres were also too lethargic, given the ‘Feel Good’ atmosphere created by the Media
• Anti Incumbency in Major States – During 2004 elections, BJP was in coalition with parties which were facing major anti incumbency wave in their respective states. For example TDP in Andhra Pradesh had completed 2 successive terms. AIADMK in Tamil Nadu did not do quite a good work to earn votes. NDA also felt the heat of Anti incumbency in Punjab, Haryana and some other states
• Distracted Ideology – BJP is considered to be a Party working for True Secularism. Its traditional Vote bank is Hindus who feel deceived by the appeasement politics. BJP compromised on its ideology and did nothing to fulfil its promise of building ‘Ram Mandir’ in Ayodhya. Worse still, it struck post poll alliance with BSP, much to the ire of voters. Not surprisingly BJP deep dived from 57 Seats in Uttar Pradesh in 1998 to merely 10 seats in 2009. BJP could have done well, by not misleading the people into a matter which was then pending before the Court and not forming alliance with the wrong partner
• Disinvestment – BJP adopted an aggressive disinvestment policy. It meant that all the PSUs which were in losses would either have to recover in a fixed timeframe or be ready to sell out and in either cases, it would have meant that the lethargic Sarkari Babus would have to work their brains out. This led to dissatisfaction among the Sarkari employees of the PSUs who enjoyed their way till then.
• White Supremacism and Sympathy Factor – During the 2004 elections, NDA and BJP in particular raked up the issue of foreign origin of Sonia Gandhi. In India, people, especially those who had not have the privilege of a minimum level of education to analyze are fascinated by white Skin. As a result they considered Smt. Sonia Gandhi as some Queen. This submissive nature was also one of the prime reasons of British ruling India for around 200 years and no major Independence revolution gaining full support from the public. Also the regular attack on Saree wearing Sonia Gandhi, terming her a foreigner filled the rural people’s hearts with sympathy. In India, sympathy votes also work its magic. One shouldn’t forget how Ajit Jogi with serious corruption charges won in 2004, after he met an accident.
• Gujarat 2002 Riots – Last but not the least, Gujarat 2002 riots played an important role in Muslims coming out and voting in large numbers. It is not that Riots had happened for the 1st time in India, but since it was in NDA regime, the Riots factor was overplayed by Media and Opposition parties. As a result, Muslims who had voted for NDA in previous elections deserted it. They went for en masse voting to ensure that NDA is ousted from power.
We have tried to cover all the possible reasons for NDA’s surprise loss in 2004 General Elections. Although the reasons might not be exhaustive, these are the major reasons and it drives a few lessons home to the BJP for future. They are:
Congress was and still is the largest political party of India
Congress has its traditional vote bank that comes out and vote for it. BJP must not try to copy Congress by supporting populist Bills like FSB, because the voters would not desert Congress and choose just another party with similar manifesto for them
BJP must try to consolidate its vote bank, which comprises of urban middle class voters.
BJP must also not compromise on its ideologies which is Secular politics and must not indulge in appeasement politics. No matter what, those who vote for Congress for appeasement will vote for Congress and not BJP
The only time BJP won an election was when they had a popular face in place, so they must have a popular face to counter Congress vote bank politics. That face is undoubtedly Narendra Modi
None of the causes of BJP’s loss above mention Corruption as a major cause. So BJP would do well to not be deceived by the fact that, people are angry with Congress and there is a strong anti Congress wave. NO, there is no Anti Congress wave flowing and Corruption is a non issue in India. How else would so many tainted Ministers keep winning? Congress won HP, UK and Karnataka elections despite so many charges of Corruption and Scams in the picture
Those who vote for Congress will vote for Congress, howsoever serious the charges of Corruption are.
- The only way out for BJP, is to get that marginal votes which would prove to be the game changer. These extra 2-3% votes would come by the help of a leader with widespread National level popularity and again that leader is none other than Narendra Modi.
In the 2nd part of the Opinion Poll, we would try to showcase how Narendra Modi factor helps NDA in getting the critically ‘marginal’ votes, which transfer into seats; Opinion poll for the Hindi Belt (UP, Bihar,. MP, Rajasthan etc); Causes for NDA’s loss in 2009 General Elections; uncovering the general criticisms of Narendra Modi and What would overreliance on Alliance do to BJP/NDA.
Continued to Epitome of Change Narendra Modi – IBTL Opinion Poll 2013 ...
Author : Suyash Bharadwaj | Follow the writer twitter.com/Suyash75
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