Leaders and laggards
Ashok K. Damodaran
April 10, 2009
When it comes to politics ……Everybody has an opinion and everyone believes he or she is right. Narendra Modi is not among the dozen or so men and women who barely conceal their prime ministerial ambitions but if a political version of “Indian Idol” were to be chosen, irrespective of these divides, the Gujarat chief minister is likely to win hands down.
Since 2002, when INDIA TODAYand pollsters AC Nielsen-ORG-MARG broadened the scope of the Mood of the Nation poll to assess the performance of chief ministers across the country, Modi has always been rated among the five best chief ministers in the country.
In our last three polls, he has held the number one slot and this year, with a nationwide approval rating of 20, Modi polled almost as much as the first and second runners-up, Sheila Dikshit (11) and Nitish Kumar (10), put together.
For the 15th Mood of the Nation poll, 12,374 voters in 19 states were asked to rate the performance of the chief ministers of their own states as well as their perceptions about the chief ministers of other states. Though chief ministerial writ does not extend beyond the boundaries of the respective states, some like Modi have come to acquire a pan-Indian image.
That Modi’s approval rating is a phenomenal 80 per cent in his home state should come as no surprise, but what is truly astounding is that across several states, he has got between 20 and 25 per cent of the votes.
In contrast, the rating of most chief ministers outside their respective states remained in single digits. Modi scored exceptionally well in states like Karnataka, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and even communist Kerala. Barring the first, all are non-BJP ruled states which are on high growth trajectories.
Across the country, 12 per cent of voters who voted for the Congress in the last elections say they will vote for Modi if they get a chance.
Proof perhaps that people believe in his development mantra.
The overwhelming endorsement is also a proof that despite the controversies that have surrounded Modi these past few years, people are by and large taken in by his image as an absolutely incorruptible politician, something that sounds like an oxymoron these days.