A US survey of Indians in India has found BJP’s prime minister candidate Narendra Modi is hugely more popular than his putative Congress challenger Rahul Gandhi.
Eight out of 10 polled — 78% — had a favourable view of Modi. who even beat Anna Hazare, who was second most popular at 69%. Gandhi was way behind, with 50%.
Most Indians were dissatisfied with the present state of affairs, and nearly two-third of them — 63% — wanted the BJP to lead the next national government, said the poll results released on Wednesday.
Only 19% supported the Congress.
Pew Research Center, a US fact-tank, conducted the survey between December 7 and January 12, interviewing 2,464 randomly selected adults at their place of residence.
J&K and the northeast were left out of the survey.
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“Modi’s support is especially high in the North, and he is seen favorably in both rural and urban areas and among high and low income and well educated and less educated Indians,” Pew said.
Gandhi’s appeal — even at 50% — was constant across demographics, but he pulled more in eastern India — Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand.
Though Gandhi fared better than his mother, Sonia Gandhi — but only marginally, at 49% — he was beaten by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who scored 52%.
The BJP polled the strongest in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi — 164 Lok Sabha seats — getting 74% support there to lead the next government.
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But the party was weakest in Maharashtra and, intriguingly, in two of its own states Chattisgarh and Gujarat, which Modi heads as chief minister. The report offered no explanations.
The Congress’s strongest support — even at a lowly 30% — was in Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand, that together totaled 117 Lok Sabha seats.Expectations from the BJP were constantly higher than the ruling Congress on all fronts — creation of jobs, fighting corruption and tackling terrorism.