The Modi factor in the Elections

As I traveled around querying voters how they voted or plan to vote, the response was overwhelmingly “Modi”. People were not voting for the candidates in the constituencies or the BJP, but Modi. In fact, many of BJP’s candidates were/are very unpopular for not servicing their constituencies, and voters wanted them out, but still cast ballots for them because they want Modi to serve another term as PM.

The Modi factor in the Elections
Photo : Narendra Modi

As I traveled around querying voters how they voted or plan to vote, the response was overwhelmingly “Modi”. People were not voting for the candidates in the constituencies or the BJP, but Modi. In fact, many of BJP’s candidates were/are very unpopular for not servicing their constituencies, and voters wanted them out, but still cast ballots for them because they want Modi to serve another term as PM.

It was like Modi was contesting in every constituency on behalf of the BJP. Almost everywhere in the Hindi belt and in Maharashtra, it was a Modi wave. My friends in West Bengal also said voters were giving strong approval to Modi. There was a lot of anti-incumbency against BJP candidates especially in the Hindi heartland, particularly Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and Chhattisgarh. But voters wanted to give Modi another term in office ignoring the poor representation of incumbents and voted for “Modi”.

Even in the South, like Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra, voters say Modi deserve another term. The BJP did not contest in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. But voters cast ballots for parties sympathetic to Modi. Only in Tamil Nadu was there a strong anti-incumbent wave. At any rate, Tamils don’t like Modi or any political leader from the north. In terms of preference of the choice of Prime Minister, voters overwhelmingly prefer Modi over Rahul Gandhi.

Other potential PMs, like Mayawati, or Akilesh, or Mamta Banerjee or Chandra Babu Naidoo did not make any significant showing. Voter prefer Modi by more than three to one over Rahul. Voters indicated they were impressed by Modi’s nationalism (Balakot attacks in Pakistan) and his crackdown on corruption. For once, corruption was not an issue in an election in India. Voters endorsed a muscular Indian nationalism going after terrorists although they were not supportive of some domestic policies of the Modi’ government. Attachments area