Modi’s Popularity Endures Despite Recent India State Poll Defeat

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity remains strong despite his party’s loss in a crucial state election, but his main rival Rahul Gandhi is also gaining ground, indicating the opposition could gather momentum ahead of the 2024 national election.
  • Modi remains the top choice for prime minister and his Bharatiya Janata Party’s vote share remains steady, according to a survey by broadcaster New Delhi Television Ltd. in partnership with the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies research group.
  • If national elections were held right now, 43% of those polled said Modi would be their choice. Gandhi was his main competitor, with 27% favoring him for the top job.
  • Despite losing the state of Karnataka earlier in May 23, 43% of the respondents said a BJP-led coalition would return to power in next year’s national vote. Only 29% said Gandhi’s Congress party would win. Modi’s ruling party’s vote share has also seen a slight uptick — increasing to 39% in 2023 from 37% in 2019 when it swept to power for a second term.
  • However, the Congress’s vote share showed a bigger jump to 29% this year from 19% in 2019, the survey showed.
  • Gandhi’s growing popularity is an indication the scion of India’s Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty could emerge as a challenger to Modi after suffering back-to-back defeats in the last two national elections. The Congress’s rare win in Karnataka was a morale booster for the main opposition group.

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