In February, the BJP launched its election catchphrase “Namumkin ab mumkin hai.” A month later, towards the third week of March, party leadership and its poll strategists, in order to convey it more directly to the electorate, tweaked it to: “Modi hai to mumkin hai.”
It seems that inserting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name into this slogan made the difference. Since 2013, Modi has emerged as the biggest vote multiplier in contemporary India. Since its inception the BJP (or in its earlier avatar Jana Sangh) always had a committed base in north India, but the advent of Modi on the national scene as as its foremost campaigner changed the political landscape. Modi created his own social constituency and one can safely say as the News 18-IPSOS survey and other exit polls indicate that in the past five years, Modi’s constituency has only grown in north and west India and has opened new frontiers, particularly in east and North East.
The poll of polls (of exit polls) suggest Modi will comfortably return to power, despite the Opposition's tall talk of gathbandhan and mahagathbadhan, portraying him as a dictator, someone who was fundamentally opposed to “idea of India”.
Modi’s second term, if 23 May results go the way the exit polls predicted, will be made possible not only because the hope he generated in 2014 didn't die down, but that trust turned into a hope for millions of people, a belief that he was sincere, worked hard with a clear vision, is focussed and intends to deliver larger benefits to the masses.
This coalition essentially comprised young voters, first and second-time voters or those below age of 30 and women. Young voters, through hope and belief Modi generated of new India, the speed and scale he brought in transforming a vision and policies into reality and rural and suburban women, through hassle-free and middlemen-free last-mile delivery.
The intense field survey by News18-IPSOS released Tuesday, which predicted that the BJP will win 276 seats — a majority — and the BJP-led NDA is likely to win 336 seats, posited that the all India vote percentage for NDA would jump to 48.5 percent (the BJP to 39.6) while the Congress would get around 19 percent and the UPA 25 percent. Modi is scoring high marks because the percentage of women voting for BJP or the NDA under Modi’s leadership is very high. For NDA, the survey indicates that 48.7 percent women will vote in its favour as compared to 48.6 percent of men.
But when it comes to Congress or the UPA, vote percentage of women drops as compared to the preference of male voters: 18.4 percent women will vote in its favour as compared to 19.1 male, it applies same for UPA. Around 50 percent of first-time voters and 51 percent of voters between the ages of 23 and 30 (this would be much higher if one were only to consider northern, western or even eastern states where BJP has strong footprint. It is known than in southern India, except Karnataka, BJP does not have much of a presence) is predicted.
Another interesting finding, as News18-IPSOS survey suggests is that a substantive number of Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes will vote in favour of the BJP. It claimed that over 35 percent (all India) of Dalits preferred BJP and around 44 percent Dalits will vote for NDA, which is much higher than their preference for any other party or coalition. If these numbers hold, it would indicate that Modi’s work in terms of last-mile delivery or the socially beneficial programmes, including concrete houses, electricity supply, gas cylinder, toilets, two quarterly installments of Rs 2,000 and the symbolism of dedicating memorials to Dalit icon BR Ambedkar in India and abroad and washing the feet of safai karamcharis at Kumbh in Prayagraj won the trust of the community which has been living on the margins for centuries.
It should be noted that the number of women voting in these elections has been the highest since Independence. Modi is only leader in the country who has become a household name, irrespective of an individual or family’s voting preferences. Large number of voters would recall Modi and its phool (lotus symbol), not so much BJP.
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Updated Date: May 21, 2019 19:42:13 IST