Indian PM Modi's popularity fell from 66pc to 24pc in one year over handling of Covid-19 pandemic: survey
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity ratings fell from 66 per cent to 24pc — a huge difference of 42pc — over the course of one year as Covid-19's second wave led to record deaths and infections in the country.
A survey, titled Mood of the Nation, conducted by Indian publication India Today had asked respondents, "Who is best suited to be the next prime minister of India?"
According to the results of the survey published last week, Modi was the top contender, followed by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adyanath and Rahul Gandhi, the leader of India's main opposition party. However, Modi's popularity declined massively from 66pc in August 2020 to 38pc in Jan 2021 and finally to 24pc in Aug of this year.
Respondents cited Modi's handling of the coronavirus pandemic as the primary reason for lower ratings.
"While Modi was lauded for his handling of the first wave with a high 73pc approval rating in January 2021, the disruption experienced during the second wave has seen that figure drop to 49pc," the India Today report said.
Around 27pc of the respondents said that large gatherings, including election rallies, were responsible for the second wave in India, while 26pc said it was due to disregarding precautions against the coronavirus, Indian publication Scroll.in said in its report on the survey.
The respondents also displayed mistrust in the government's data of cases and deaths due to the coronavirus, with 71pc saying infections and fatalities were higher than the Indian government's figures.
In July, India became the third country to surpass 400,000 Covid-19 deaths. The surge was blamed on the Delta variant and the government's complacency after Modi declared victory over the virus in January.
In response to the question, "What is the biggest problem India currently faces?", 23pc said it was Covid-19, 19pc said it was inflation while 9pc cited unemployment as the biggest problem.
Jammu and Kashmir's statehood
Another significant finding of the survey was the response to the question, "What should the union government do to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir?". Forty-one per cent of the respondents said full statehood should be restored while 25pc were in favour of restoring both the statehood as well as Jammu and Kashmir's special status.
As many as 51pc of the respondents said they are scared to protest or express anything on any platform for fear of being arrested.
Respondents were also asked about the performance of the main opposition party — Congress. According to the results, 34pc said it was average while 29pc said it was good.
More than 14,000 people participated in the India Today survey which was conducted between July 10 and 22, according to Scroll.in.
The survey covered residents of 19 states, 115 parliamentary and 230 assembly seats, it added.