Despite the best efforts of strategists, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party the BJP don’t seem to have captured the imagination of voters in most parts of southern India, according to an IANS-CVoter survey.
This is in sharp contrast to west, east, central and north India where Narendra Modi towers over other rivals like a colossus.
This was revealed during an exclusive survey conducted by CVoter on behalf of IANS in the four states — Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala — and the Union Territory of Puducherry, where Assembly elections were held in 2021.
A series of questions covering a wide range of issues were asked during the survey to gauge the current mood of the voters in these four states and one UT.
In West Bengal, where the BJP lost the Assembly elections badly against the Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Bannerjee, more than 33 per cent of the respondents said they were very much satisfied with Modi’s performance as the Prime Minister, while another 32 per cent said they were “satisfied to some extent”. About 34 per cent said they were not at all satisfied with PM Modi.
In BJP-ruled Assam, about 43 per cent of the respondents said they were very satisfied with his performance while 21 per cent said they were not satisfied at all.
In the same survey, close to 18 per cent of the respondents said they were not satisfied at all with the performance of Himanta Biswa Sarma as the Chief Minister.
But the story is different down south.
In Kerala, while 34 per cent of the respondents were very satisfied with Modis’ performance, more than 30 per cent of the respondents were not satisfied at all.
It was even worse in Tamil Nadu where just 17 per cent of the respondents were very satisfied with Modi’s performance as the Prime Minister, while more than 40 per cent were not satisfied at all.
Clearly, as the 2024 Lok Sabha elections near, both Modi and the BJP need to figure out how to woo voters in the south.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan were rated as the most popular CMs, closely followed by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin.
During the survey, the respondents were asked to rate the performance of the Chief Ministers of their respective states.
In the case of Assam, more than 43 per cent of the respondents said that they were very much satisfied with the performance of Himanta Biswa Sarma, while in case of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, more than 41 per cent expressed the same sentiment.
The high rating of Himanta Biswa Sarma stands out as he is the Chief Minister of a deeply polarised state where Muslims, who constitute more than one-third of the electorate, are not favourably disposed towards the BJP.
In contrast, West Bengal CM Mamta Banerjee scored 39 per cent in the “very much satisfied” category when almost similar number of minorities stand rock solid behind her party.