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Rahul Gandhi’s popularity on the rise

Two country-wide opinion polls, conducted by separate media groups, have indicated a rise in popularity for Congress president Rahul Gandhi and a slight dip in the electoral prospects of the ruling NDA, even though the BJP-led coalition continues to be the frontrunner among its political opponents in the Lok Sabha.

The surveys by India Today group and ABP News however differed in the figures projected for the choice of Prime Minister and the popular choice of ruling party among the electorate. While the India Today survey polled 53 per cent in favour of Narendra Modi as the choice for the country’s PM, the ABP figures gave him 37 per cent weightage for the role, down from 44 per cent last year.

Rahul Gandhi remained the second most popular candidate for the PM post, with India Today survey awarding him 22 per cent and the ABP 20 per cent, up from 9 last year.

Interestingly, both the surveys showed a northward trend in Congress electoral fortunes and a marginal dip in the BJP popularity among the polity, if the elections were to be held “now”.

“The BJP-led ruling NDA will bounce back to power with 301 seats with 34 per cent of vote share if Lok Sabha elections were held today while the Congress-led UPA will double its tally compared to 2014 elections and may bag 127 seats but will remain way behind of the magic figure of 272,” the ABP News-CSDS survey has predicted.

In 2014 BJP on its own bagged 282 Lok Sabha seats while the combined tally of the NDA was 336. Thus if the coalition faces a deficit of 30 seats out of 336, it means that the NDA may remain in power but the BJP alone may fall short of the majority mark.

Projecting similar results, albeit not exact, the India Today poll survey predicted that the NDA will win 258 of 543 seats, down from 282 it had won in 2014, if the polling were to happen today. In terms of vote share, the coalition will corner 40 per cent of India’s electorate, the poll said.

“On the other hand, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance will win 202 seats with a vote share of 38 per cent – just two points behind the NDA. Other parties may command a vote share of 22 per cent, translating into 83 seats,” it said.

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