The success of the nationwide Bharat Bandh to protest the rising fuel prices in most states shows that public anger against the BJP is finally hitting the streets
The 2019 poll bugle has been sounded and preparations are on for the final war. Every party is busy planning, executing and scrambling to dominate the battlefield. While the BJP is rallying for the same support that fuelled them in 2014, the opposition is busy making efforts to counter the powers that be.
The ruling party though is caught in a twin battle – defending its turf against public and opposition scrutiny and wading through the rising popularity of Rahul Gandhi. A reluctant politician once, the Gandhi scion has finally emerged from the shadows, throwing challenges at the PM at every given opportunity. So how has public perception changed with these developments or have they changed at all? To gauge the mood of the nation, Piplsay did a quick poll across the country and this is what was revealed from the over 56000 responses we received.
Rahul the rising star
Nearly half the people surveyed believe that Rahul Gandhi is emerging as a strong leader. It’s a huge validation for the young politician who till about a year back was mocked for being weak and inexperienced. The Karnataka elections and the subsequent power-sharing deal is said to have played a crucial role in changing public opinion of him.
Despite his many goof-up’s, Rahul Gandhi is now being increasingly seen as the only leader who can challenge Modi in the 2019 elections
Though half the people surveyed seem unsure about Rahul Gandhi’s leadership skills especially with regards to leading the allies, a substantial chunk of people are willing to bet on him. Even those sitting on the fence spell good news to the grand old party as it means that they are not rejecting their new leader out-rightly.
However, the success of the recent Bharat Bandh in which 21 opposition parties extended their support to the Congress is likely to give a major boost to Rahul Gandhi’s rising influence and power.
BJP’s United worries
The united opposition once considered a spineless entity seems to be displaying some might as well, much to BJP’s displeasure. Once mocked by the BJP, the Khichdi coalition has been busy proving its might – Be it the UP-Bihar by-polls where the saffron party lost all three Lok Sabha seats it contested, the Karnataka elections which it lost despite winning, the May Lok Sabha and Assembly by-polls where opposition parties won 11 of the 14 seats or the most recent Karnataka civic elections where Congress edged out BJP to emerge the single largest party.
These factors combined are said to be giving sleepless nights to BJP in the run-up to 2019. The party, therefore, is leaving no stone unturned to amplify its achievements and counter all the accusations.
A majority of those surveyed by Piplsay also seem to agree about BJP’s slipping confidence though they remain optimistic about their ally support
This despite Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP leaving the NDA camp in a huff and Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena eagerly showing its restlessness.
However, in what can be reassuring to the ruling party, a whopping 80% people still seem to believe in Modi’s might, even if slightly eroded. The one factor that will go against him the most will be the issue of job creation. The party has performed rather unsatisfactorily on this hugely publicised poll promise, creating far lesser jobs than originally envisioned.
This factor resurfaced when Rahul Gandhi on his recent foreign visit linked increasing lynching incidents in India to joblessness and lack of opportunities for the poor
To make matters worse, the RBI’s recent report on demonetization has once again reignited the debate on the economic impact of this disruptive policy and thereby its political consequences. Yet, despite being on shaky grounds BJP seems to be standing strong as revealed by the Piplsay poll. The Congress party, on the other hand, looks re-energized under Rahul Gandhi’s helm while the allies seem to be sticking together as well.
The rise of Modi has definitely changed political equations over the years and it is only set for an interesting turn as we head into the crucial 2019 elections. The stakes are high and with PM Modi’s reputation on the line, it is definitely going to be one bitterly fought battle.
The clock has started ticking and the countdown has only just begun