According to the latest survey, conducted between the third week of December 2017 and third week of January 2018, by election trends research agency CVoter, if Lok Sabha polls were held today then the Congress-led-UPA would claim “moral victory” with 88 seats. The BJP-led NDA would have to be satisfied with a total of 335 seats. The sample size of the survey was more than 10,000 respondents.
CVoter Results for Most Preferred Prime Minister
In the survey, 66 percent of respondents preferred Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister while 28 percent preferred Congress Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister. This is a big “moral victory” for the Congress President because when the previous sample survey was carried out in 2017, 26 percent of the respondents had preferred him over Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister. The elevation of Rahul Gandhi seems to have increased his approval ratings by 2 percent. Interestingly, the percentage of respondents opting for the option “none of them” (NOTA) also saw an increase by 1 percent. This trend is again a good indication for Congress President Rahul Gandhi as his own percentage increase in popularity is more than that of NOTA as more people have preferred him over NOTA, thereby bringing Rahul Gandhi and his dedicated team another “moral victory” in the run up to important state elections this year and the all-important Lok Sabha election next year in 2019.
CVoter Findings for Andhra, Telangana and Karnataka
A few trends can be discerned from the recent CVoter election survey. Let us begin with the South. By ordering the division of the important state of Andhra Pradesh, in spite of requests by the state Congress leadership, including the then Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and the rejection of the Telangana statehood bill the (undivided) Andhra Pradesh state assembly in January 2014, the then Congress President Sonia Gandhi hardly displayed any political acumen and sagacity. On the contrary, it displayed a sense of haughtiness and bull-headedness in resolving the contentious issue of the division of the state of Andhra Pradesh. For the congress, the division of Andhra Pradesh was akin to cutting off the branch of the tree on which one is sitting. In 2004, undivided Andhra Pradesh had contributed 29 seats to the total tally of the Congress party alone, which means 20 percent of the total seats won by the Congress were won in Andhra Pradesh. Similarly, in 2009 under the leadership of the late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, the Congress party had performed even better in the state by winning 33 out of 42 seats in the state. After the order by Sonia Gandhi to divide the state, the Congress party was reduced to only 2 seats (both won in the Telangana region that was soon thereafter made a separate state).
As per the recent CVoter poll, the Congress faces a wipe-out again in the present state of Andhra Pradesh, while struggling to retain a maximum of 2 seats in the state of Telangana, which it can again claim as Moral Victory. The BJP-led NDA would perform better than the Congress in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Karnataka would be swept by the BJP with the party winning 22 out of 28 seats. In Kerala, which has seen the killings of many RSS workers, the BJP could create history by winning its first ever seat in the state.
CVoter Findings for Kerala
In 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJP candidates had come third in 17 out of 20 constituencies in the state. Senior leader O Rajagopal had lost to Congress’ Shashi Tharoor from Thiruvananthapuram by 15,470 votes. The victory margin of Tharoor had come down from 99,998 votes in 2009 to 15,470 in 2014. In fact, out of 7 assembly segments of the Thiruvananthapuram parliamentary constituency, the BJP candidate had won 4 while Tharoor had won 3. The total number of votes cumulatively polled by the BSP and AAP candidates from Thiruvananthapuram was 18,013 more than the victory margin of Shashi Tharoor. If the BJP strategizes well in Kerala then they could certainly win at least 1 to seats from the state (the Cvoter poll suggests that the BJP would win 1 seat and double its vote share).
CVoter Findings for Tami Nadu
In the other important state of Tamil Nadu, entry of superstar Rajini Kanth may be the gamechanger. As per the survey, if Rajini Kanth does not contest then the DMK re-energized by the acquittal of its leaders by the trial court in the 2G case would sweep the state by winning 32 out of 39 seats, while the NDA may lose one of the two seats it holds. However, if Rajini does decide to contest then the NDA tally could come down to nought and the DMK could end up with 14 seats (still a gain of 14 seats). Rajini is projected to win or influence the outcome in 23 seats of the state. Finding the right alliance partners for the 2 national parties could swing around 25-30 seats in the state. Rajini may be less likely to align with the Congress. Whether he decides to go alone in the polls or enter into a post-poll alliance with the BJP is for the BJP and him to decide.
CVoter Findings for Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh
In another important state of Maharashtra, the BJP is almost sweeping the state with 44 seats, according to the CVoter survey. This performance would be better than the performance in 2014. Even in Haryana, the BJP, despite criticism of the Khattar Government from sections of the media is projected to gain and perform better than in 2014. Despite machinations of the Congress ecosystem to divide the social fabric in Gujarat and Rajasthan, the states are voting firmly with the BJP giving it 23 seats and 20 seats respectively. The only gain for the Congress would be its performance in Punjab led by Capt Amarinder Singh. One cause of concern for the BJP would be its performance in 2 mineral rich states with large tribal populations of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Here, the Congress and its allies could be getting a total 13 seats out of a total of 25 seats. In another mineral-rich state of Odisha, the BJP would perform stupendously winning 13 out of 21 seats. While the Congress would again claim “moral victory” in Odisha by winning no seats in the state, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which has been in power in the state since 2000, first in alliance with the BJP and since 2009 on its own would be reduced to 8 seats.
CVoter Findings for UP, Bihar, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Manipur
While there would be a marginal drop in the number of seats of the BJP in the crucial state of UP, it would be offset by gains in the north-eastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Manipur and the big states of Bihar where the BJP alliance would decimate the leaderless and rudderless opposition parties such as the Rashtriya Janata Dal and West Bengal where the BJP led NDA would increase its vote share to 29.2 percent with the total number of seats projected to be 12.
Going by the CVoter poll survey, it is clear that the people of India have trust and confidence in BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ability to lead the nation and take the nation on the path of social and economic development. It is for this reason that even after being in power for more than three and a half years, 66 percent of the respondents expressed preference for him over the youthful Congress President Rahul Gandhi. With the right leadership at the helm and now in almost all the major states of the country, the stage seems set for the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring about their vision of New India by 2022. It is also a vision that would “morally” enrich the Congress party and correct its “moral compass” through such “victories” in elections that reflect the mandate of the people.
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