Prime Minister Narendra Modi clears the test for most millennials, an exclusive Piplsay Youth survey reveals
About 130 million young adults will get to cast their votes in the next general election.
These first-time voters are part of the growing breed of young Indians which will be crucial in deciding the political fortunes of most parties.
To sense the mood ahead of the 2019 elections, Piplsay reached out to over 20,000 youngsters in the age group of 18-34 years. The pan India survey was conducted over a period of two weeks in April.
On the most important question about leadership, Piplsay found out that for a majority of the country’s millennials, Narendra Modi is the topmost PM choice for the country.
Almost 6 out of 10 youngsters trust Narendra Modi to run the country better. However, the fact that a significant 42% youngsters choose other leaders over Modi is something that cannot be ignored.
This mixed response shows that while there is still a Modi wave, not every youngster is willing to ride it.
The other leaders who got single digit votes include Mamta Banerjee, Yogi Adityanath, Chandrababu Naidu, Priyanka Gandhi, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rajnikant among others.
There appears to be absolutely no contest between Modi and his closest political rival Arvind Kejriwal. India’s muffler man, who ironically came to power with massive youth support, is more than seven times less popular than the PM. But he manages to beat Congress’s blue-eyed boy Rahul Gandhi whose popularity seems to be on a downhill slide.
All these three leaders had equal opportunities to connect with the youth. They were all at the forefront when youngsters in the country were trying to create their own space. But going by the survey, it looks like only Modi was able to strike that chord and impress the youth.
Piggybacking on the Modi wave, BJP also emerges as a clear favorite for 2019. Over 60% of those Piplsay reached out to expressed their confidence in voting for the Saffron party. The numbers could rise as another 16% remain undecided about their choice
Decoding the building blocks
A huge percentage of youngsters believe that demonetization and black money crackdown have made a credible impact. For them, these government reforms are a natural extension of Modi’s commitment to a corruption free India. This sentiment persists despite there being no proof of reduction in corruption or black money post these reforms.
Even Modi’s numerous foreign tours find favor. Youngsters see these visits as being beneficial for the country, both in terms of international relations and foreign investments – the latter helping generate more jobs.
Yet, Modi’s promise of creating 10 million new jobs for youth seems to have fallen way short of the ambitious figure. Official data from the labour bureau show that India’s organised sector created only about 4.95 jobs in 2014, 1.35 lakh jobs in 2015 – lowest in six years and 4.16 lakh jobs in 2016-2017
Not everyone seems impressed with this BJP run though. A good 25% youngsters refuse to believe in the much touted ‘Ache Din’ slogan while another 17% seen unsure about it.
Youngsters also seem to be worried about the rising communal incidents and intense nationalism in the country. Over 95% youngsters told Piplsay that these issues have hurt the government’s image. This overwhelming sentiment will be hard for BJP to ignore, especially since today’s youth is more interested in the idea of a progressive India.
In terms of priorities for the next government, employment and education remain the focus areas.
Youngsters hold the key
Over 65% of the country’s population today is below the age of 35. Their sheer strength gives youngsters the power to shape a party’s destiny. Winning them over is not just crucial but also inescapable.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi seemed to have deciphered this writing on the wall, much ahead of others. From Radio to social media to on ground events, he has tapped into every media platform available to engage with the youth and impress them with his government’s self-claimed victories.
So far this strategy seems to have worked well for the BJP, as shown by the Piplsay survey. But it needs to be seen if these efforts will actually translate into more power for Modi and his party.
The 2019 elections will be their reality check