Indians place more faith in local leader than either central or state

Very few governments in Indian political history have been able to beat anti-incumbency sentiments among the electorate.

It’s very common for a party or person in India to lose elections just because they have already been in power.

With the kind of population demographics and size of the nation, India experiences anti-incumbency probably every five years.

However, interesting data threw up in a CVoter opinion poll conducted on behalf of IANS.

According to the Anger Index, a survey conducted by IANS-CVoter opinion poll, anti-incumbency sentiments are highest against state governance, followed by Central and local governance.

As many as 46.6 per cent respondents are unhappy with the governance on state level while 18.6 per cent have said they are angry with local governance. At least, 34.8 per cent are unhappy with the central government.

Interestingly, while 24.6 per cent of the respondents blame the Chief Minister for their anger, only 11.2 per cent are angry with their sitting MLAs and a meagre 5.1 per cent are miffed with their sitting MP.

When analysed closely, the data clearly shows that the majority of Indians place most of their trust in the local governance and place larger faith in the Central government than the state. The popularity of Narendra Modi remains unwavering as only 17.9 per cent blame the Prime Minister for poor machinations of state governance.

The data will not surprise those who understand how Indian politics and democracy veers towards personalities who emerge as political anchors for their parties.

Since 2014, Modi has become a towering figure in terms of popularity among Indians. So much so, that if a particular state government was doing well, the electorate would jump to credit the central government, especially PM Modi’s leadership, for a job well done. The data could also mean that Indians have a skewed view of how the governments in India work.

The number of respondents unhappy with the Prime Minister (leader of the Centre) outweigh the number of those unhappy with the central government. This only means while the brownie points of all important works done by Centre are credited in PM Modi ratings, in the states where the Central government is discredited, the blame also lands at the personal ratings of the PM. Equally true are trends at the state level, where all CEO styled chief ministers get the credit done by the state governments, but they also end up facing the public anger as and when the disenchantment with the state government seeps in.

Here’s where the data gets more curious. While 66.8 per cent are angry with state governance in Telangana, they apparently rate their local governance quite high. Telangana has topped the list of states where people are most satisfied with their local politicians — only 5.4 per cent are angry with the state of local governance. Overall, anger against local governance outweighed anger against state and central government. One of the reasons for these figures could be that the smart Indian electorate places more faith in the local leaders than those whom they only periodically see on the telly.

Additionally, the physical proximity of a public servant is clearly more important for respondents. However, Delhi and Maharashtra respondents have expressed maximum unhappiness with the local governance. This underlines the huge anger getting built up at the Municipal level governance in India’s political capital Delhi and the financial capital Mumbai, both of which are likely to hold the much hyped Municipality Elections in coming months. If the trendline of the Anger Index is taken to be something of a bell weather, the BJP is likely to face the anti-incumbency heat in Delhi while the MVA partner Shiv Sena might get into rough weather in Mumbai.

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