Narendra Modi has a comfortable lead in the run-up to this year’s national elections, according to a poll released today, which also found that the ruling Congress Party could be heading for a “meltdown.” India Today reports:
The BJP is emerging as undisputed single largest party in India, crossing their previous best of 182 seats in 1999. In terms of vote share, it might just cross the psychologically important 30 per cent vote mark which has eluded the BJP all along. The real swing for the BJP is coming from the Hindi heartland, especially in the states where the contest is primarily bipolar between the Congress and the BJP. In states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Jharkhand the Congress meltdown is complete.
Congress, meanwhile, is expected to lose somewhere in the region of 156 seats. A helpful graphic shows the results of the poll here.Indian polls are notoriously unreliable, so take these figures with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, the figures are stunning if not all that surprising. Congress took a drubbing in recent state elections, and Rahul Gandhi, the man whom many hoped would lead a resurgence before the national election in the spring, was told by Sonia Gandhi, his mother, that he should not run for the premiership yet. Rahul’s capitulation signaled to Indians and foreign observers that Congress has basically folded.But let’s not give the election to Modi just yet. Arvind Kejriwal, the leader of the upstart “Common Man” party, could capitalize on some of the dissatisfaction voters have with the Congress Party, thereby stealing some of the voters the BJP wants to bring into its fold. The AAP is planning to contest a number of seats in crucial states where the BJP would otherwise expect to be favored this year. The result could be a weakened coalition under Modi.