Narendra Modi must be sleeping well these days. India’s national election, now just weeks away, is his to lose, if the numbers from a recent Pew survey are anything to go by. Of the Indians polled, 70 percent said they are dissatisfied with the current state of the country. Rural and urban, educated and not, men and women, young and old—most of them want change.And who do they want to bring that change? Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party was the most frequent answer, at 63 percent. Only 19 percent said they wanted Congress, the party of Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi, to continue leading the country.Most remarkably, Pew found that support for the BJP is widespread from north to south and east to west, in cities and the countryside. In all regions support for Congress was extremely low: the highest level of support for Congress was in the east, at just 30 percent.Analysts expect the BJP to win the upcoming election, but there are worries that Modi and the BJP won’t take in enough votes to avoid being forced to form a fragile coalition. India’s strong regional parties are part of the reason for this concern. In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa, the chief minister, is widely popular, and in the northeast, in the populous and vital state of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee is strong and influential. Both women are capable of bringing down national governing coalitions, and both could play important roles in accelerating or impeding Modi’s rise to to the top. And yet… maybe not. In the Pew poll, few respondents chose the “another party” option. Taken together, these numbers suggest that Modi might not have as much trouble forming a strong coalition as people expect.
Modi RisingVast Majority of Indians Dissatisfied with Current Government