That the just-conducted three pre-poll surveys by ABP News-Nielsen, CNN-IBN-GFK-Mode and Headlines Today-C-Voter would predict a crushing, humiliating defeat of the Congress- UPA was a foregone conclusion. It was equally predictable that the fed-up-with-Congress-misrule electorate would swing behind the BJP-NDA. But more than that, it was also manifestly clear that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi would be the natural choice of an overwhelming majority of the voters, and it did turn out that way.
The ABP News-Nielsen survey conducted between May 1 and 10 has predicted that the BJP and NDA are likely to win 206 Lok Sabha seats and the Congress and its UPA allies not more than 132. According to this survey, the BJP would win on its own 160 to 170 seats, as against its 2009 tally of 116, and the Congress around 100, as against its 2009 tally of 206 seats. As per the survey, 36 per cent out of a total of 33,408 voters in 21 states and 152 Lok Sabha constituencies told the survey teams that they want the world-acclaimed performer Narendra Modi to be the next Prime Minister. Only 13 per cent batted for the reluctant, inexperienced and incompetent AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
The CNN-IBN-GFK-Mode survey conducted between May 7 and 11 in 12 major cities shows that 56 per cent persons interviewed by the respective survey teams want Narendra Modi to become Prime Minister; 29 per cent batted for Rahul Gandhi. As per the same survey, 68 per cent of those interviewed want the Congress-dominated UPA Government to go lock, stock and barrel; only 28 per cent want another chance for the UPA.
The Headlines Today-C Voter opinion poll predicted 137 seats for the BJP, 21 more than its 2009 tally, and 116 for the Congress, 90 less than its 2009 tally. At the same time, the survey suggested that if Modi is projected as the BJP prime ministerial candidate, the party will go up to 220, a huge jump of 104 seats. The survey was conducted between March and May 2013 among 1.2 lakh randomly selected people in 540 Lok Sabha seats.
One thing is manifestly clear: The mood of the nation favours Narendra Modi. This obviously means recognition and appreciation of his leadership qualities, experience, administrative acumen, hard work, simplicity, commitment, ability to take along all communities, sense of justice and ability to deliver against all odds. It also means that the nation sees in Narendra Modi a steersman who alone, according to it, could rescue the aimlessly flapping Indian barge and free the country from the arrogant, insensitive, irresponsible and corrupt Congress government.
The findings of the three opinion polls should not surprise anyone. It is now for the BJP leadership and its allies to make optimum use of the prevailing political environment and further consolidate their position so that they win at least 272 seats. This is a difficult but not unachievable goal.
That the BJP and the NDA would bounce back in a big way is only one of the two most significant highlights of the opinion polls. The other is the severe indictment of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his hotchpotch minority UPA regime. The CNN-IBN-GFK-Mode opinion-poll said that 58 per cent persons belonging to all sections of society were dissatisfied with the performance of the UPA Government, 68 per cent said that the UPA Government has no right to rule, 71 per cent persons said that the UPA was the most corrupt government India has ever seen and 56 per cent said the Congress allies had consistently blackmailed the Prime Minister. Besides, an overwhelming majority of persons interviewed by the survey teams charged the UPA Government with evolving and pursuing economic policies which resulted in steep hike in prices of all essential commodities and making the life of common man a veritable health on earth. These finding must have stung the Prime Minister and the Congress party.
But what must have stung the Prime Minister all the more was his personal indictment by as many as 65 per cent of the people interviewed by CNN-IBN-GFK-Mode survey teams. They held him directly responsible for the 1.86 lakh crore coal scam. In fact, they accused him of being personally corrupt. Not only this, 64 per cent of those interviewed in urban India held the Prime Minister Office (PMO) directly responsible for the Rs 1.76 lakh crore 2G spectrum scam and Rs 1.86 lakh crore coal scam.
This shows that Dr Manmohan Singh has lost his credibility and only a few Indians consider him clean or a man with impeccable record. Indeed, the Congress and UPA-II Government will always be criticised by one and all, barring the beneficiaries, for 2G scam, 76,000 crore Commonwealth Games scam, Railgate, Coalgate and many more scams, unbridled corruption, incapable leadership, vote-bank politics, price rise, inflation, bad economic policies and failure to protect and advance further the country’s paramount sovereign interests and secure the internal situation in the country.
That the Prime Minister has fallen from grace and even his admirers have distanced themselves from him can be gauged from what “secular” (not-so-friendly towards the BJP) journalists and commentators like N Ram, Vinod Mehta, Alok Mehta, Prabhu Chawla, Neerja Chaudhary and Manini Chatterjee said about him. In one voice they said that the Prime Minister must go as he has become a liability for the party and the country. Ram said, “Manmohan Singh is hopeless choice”. Vinod Mehta went to the extent of saying that “for the first the Prime Minister is not only being accused of incompetence, but he is being accused personally of being corrupt or promoting corruption”. “Manmohan Singh must go now. People supportive of him like me want him to go. He must be replaced. God save the Congress. Anti-Congress feeling has gripped the supporters of the Congress,” he added. Chaudhary said: “The Prime Minister is not only presiding over a corrupt government, but he himself appears to be corrupt. The UPA has lost credibility. Manmohan Singh must take the responsibility”. The views of the others were no different.
Significantly, all of them admitted that AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi is no match for Narendra Modi and that the Gujarat Chief Minister has become popular across the nation because of his leadership qualities, performance and good rapport with the people. The most important observation was made by Chawla: “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a villain and Mr Modi a hero”.
The message was loud and clear: the days of the Congress and the UPA are numbered. Its significance lies in the fact that it came from bitter critics of the BJP.