The Narendra Modi wave still seems to be going strong.
Despite the constant criticism and protests by Opposition parties and questions as to whether the Prime Minister of India is still popular among Indians after allegations of intolerance and issues like the JNU crisis, Modi continues to enjoy popularity in India.
According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Centre, 81 percent of Indians have a "favourable view of Narendra Modi", 80 percent think that the "current state of economy is good" and 65 percent are "satisfied with direction of country".
The survey was conducted among 2,464 Indians from 7 April to 24 May, 2016. It is worth noting here that major protests like the Kashmir unrest, the Dalit agitation in Gujarat and now the Uri terror attack took place long after this survey was conducted.
Whether the Modi government continues to enjoy such popularity after these incidents and protests is a question that remains to be answered.
The survery also concluded that even though Modi is still immensely popular, his popularity has decreased slightly because in 2015, 87 percent of Indians had a favourable view of him. The intensity of support which Modi enjoys has also gone down. The number of Indians who have a very favourable view of Modi has gone down by 11 percentage points.
There is also a growing divide over the Modi government's performance on several domestic issues, according to the survey.
At the same time, the people's satisfaction with the direction of the country has increased 36 percentage points since 2013 and views on the economy have imporved by 23 percentage points. In fact, the survery concluded that Modi was so popular that 61 percent of supporters of the Congress have a positive view of Modi and BJP.
The survey also said that the prime minister enjoys support among both men and women of all ages, educational backgrounds, income levels and regions.
Over half the people approve of Modi's handling of domestic problems like unemployment, terrorism and corruption. And roughly half or more approve of his style of leadership.
68 percent of the people also believe that India plays a more relevant role in the world than ten years ago and 52 percent believe that India's involvement in the global economy is good.
The overall popularity of the Modi government's foreign policy has decreased. The survey concluded that despite having made 51 visits to 42 countries since he became prime minister, Modi's image — when it comes to handling ties with other countries — has gone down.
Public approval of Modi's handling of ties with the US has decreased by 12 percentage points since 2015. It is still, however, at 54 percent. 43 percent approve of India's current ties with Russia. The support for Modi's dealings with Russia has gone up by 6 percentage points.
Only 38 percent support Modi's handling of ties with China while an even lower 22 percent approve his handling of ties with Pakistan. But a noteworthy point is that most Indians do not hold a favourable view of China itself. Only 31 percent of the people have a favourable view of China, according to the survey.
What about other party leaders?
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's popularity has actually risen since 2013. He is viewed favourably by 63 percent of the people, up from 50 percent in 2013. Congress president Sonia Gandhi enjoys popularity of 65 percent of the people, up from 58 percent in 2015 and 49 percent in 2013.
67 percent of people support Congress, up from 61 percent in 2015.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal's popularity has taken a hit. He is viewed favourably by 50 percent of the people, down from 60 percent in 2015. AAP's popularity has also taken a hit. Forty-seven percent of people support the party, down from 58 percent in 2015.
However, 57 percent of the people in Delhi still support AAP. Its support is also the highest in northern states like Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
First Published On : Sep 20, 2016 10:35 IST