6 reasons the NDA is winning comfortably despite COVID, economic distress

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The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance will win 298 seats and the Congress-led UPA 105 seats if elections are held today.

Non-aligned regional parties are expected to win 140 seats. The majority mark is 272 seats.

These are the findings of India Today’s Mood of the Nation survey.

The NDA had won 333 seats in the 2019 general elections, UPA 91 and Regional parties/Independents 119 seats. This implies a loss of 35 seats for the NDA, 14 of these are likely to be bagged by the UPA and 21 by regional parties.

In terms of vote shares, the BJP is likely to record 34% (-3% to -4%) while Congress is likely to remain at 19% to 20% levels. The BJP, on a standalone basis, is expected to win 269 seats, just 3 short of the majority versus 303 in 2019.

Considering the economic crisis inflicted by the pandemic, loss of lives and livelihoods, high fuel prices, unemployment and farmers’ protest, this is a strong performance from the NDA. It reiterates the organisational might of the BJP as well as popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The same survey had shown that PM Modi’s support for Best Choice for Prime Minister has declined from 66% last year to 24% currently. The results don’t confirm this trend. But more on this later.

So, how is the NDA winning despite all the wrong noises (partly created by the media).

1. Good governance

While there has been loss of lives and livelihoods in the aftermath of the pandemic, people have been generally appreciative of the efforts of the government to reduce its impact. After all, it's an act of god, is the common acceptance.

The Modi dispensation has taken many steps to provide relief to the poor and downtrodden, including but not limited to, distribution of free ration, increase in NREGA allocations, cash support to women Jan Dhan account holders, credit guarantee scheme for MSMEs and moratorium on loan repayments during the first wave.

The implementation of various popular schemes like Ujjwala Yojana, PM Awaas Yojana, Ayushman Yojana, PM Kisan Yojana, Jan Dhan Yojana, has earned goodwill for the Prime Minister and the BJP. It has brought radical transformation in the lives of the poor plugging leakages through direct benefit transfers.

2. Organisational prowess

The BJP’s organisational machinery is superiorly oiled compared to the Opposition and mainly the Congress. The workers are highly motivated and have a strong sense of belonging due to its strong ideological moorings. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh workers working for the party provide it with an edge.

3. Committed voter satisfied

The committed voter base of the BJP is intact due to the fulfillment of manifesto promises. Modi in his second term has abrogated Article 370, passed CAA Bill, abolished Triple Talaq, facilitated the commencement of construction of a bhavya Ram mandir.

4. Faith in leadership of Modi

In the Mood of the Nation survey, 16% respondents rated PM Modi's performance as ‘outstanding’, 38% rated it as ‘good’, 30% rated it as ‘average’, 11% as ‘poor’, and 5% as ‘very poor’. This means that 54% have a positive view of Modi's performance.

Further, Modi leads the race in ‘the best PM ever’ rankings with 27%, ahead of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Jawaharlal Nehru. This shows people have tremendous faith in the leadership of Narendra Modi.

5. Congress in tatters

The Congress has been in a shambles, with an Interim president for the last 2 years. The party has not been able to sort out its leadership issue till date? Will he, won’t he, still remains a suspense (wrt Rahul taking up the top job).

Meanwhile, the exodus of young leaders continues, the latest being Mahila Congress Chief Sushmita Dev who joined the Trinamool Congress. The demands of the rebel G-23 for holding organisational polls largely remain unattended. Amongst all this, even dissatisfied voters don’t see the grand old party as a viable option.

6. TINA factor

The BJP is also benefiting from the ‘There Is No Alternative’ factor. Modi’s main contender for the prime ministerial post is Yogi Adityanath and not Rahul Gandhi. None of the regional leaders have a pan-India appeal. While Mamata Banerjee is making a strong bid she lacks acceptability even among the Opposition and also many voters. There is no leader in the country currently worth the mention who can take on Modi.

To sum up, the BJP is comfortably placed despite economic distress caused by the COVID. While a section of people is dissatisfied, many still believe that the BJP is the only party which can solve the problems that India currently faces.

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