Lessons to learn from the Mood of the Nation poll

The latest Mood of The Nation poll from India Today is out. It’s not really a surprise to hear that Modi is likely to win the election again if polls were held today. But, I felt that the poll reflects some interesting facts about BJP and Indian politics that deserve a detailed analysis.

(1) Chief Ministers are the BJP’s strongest line of defense: Here’s Raman Singh, holding on to Fortress Chhattisgarh :

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He is ranked as the 3rd most popular CM in the country. Who is #2? Well that would be Shivraj Mama, a true gem. His approval rating stands at 81%! Chief Ministers are the core of the BJP. Because if 2019 were to throw up an unexpected result, it is in the state capitals where the BJP will find the oxygen to survive and fight another battle. After 2004, the BJP’s so called “Central leadership” was totally spineless for almost 8 years until Modi came along and breathed confidence into the ranks. And one of the reasons the Congress is finding it so hard to stand up again is that it has almost no regional heavyweights left. The few that the Congress does have, like Amrinder Singh, are being punished for being smarter than Rahul Gandhi. The Congress obviously has a policy that no one is allowed to be smarter than the Shehzada. Considering the fact that almost anyone would be smarter than Pappu, you can see why the party is digging its own grave…

But that’s not an excuse for BJP to leave aside the task of leader building. It has just plugged a hole in Gujarat state unit. There are 4 other, easily identifiable regional satraps that BJP should nurture by giving them a free hand: Vashundhara Raje, Devendra Fadnavis, Sarbananda Sonowal and B S Yeddyurappa.

One final note on this: what about Goa? With Manohar Parrikar moving to Delhi, the BJP has lost a regional satrap. Laxmikant Parsekar is not a Manohar Parrikar. It is time for BJP to send a clear message to Parrikar, tell him that he cannot be “weekend CM” of Goa. Both the people of the state and the state BJP deserve a leader of their own. No state is negligible, however small.

(2) BJP has to recalibrate its strategy against Nitish Kumar: So Raman Singh and Shivraj came in at #3 and #2, but who’s #1? Who is the most popular CM?

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This is NOT good news. Nitish Kumar’s ability to hang on to the seat of power by hook or by crook is nothing short of amazing. His JDU had a vote share of 16% in Bihar. Has the JDU contested without the Mahagathbandhan on all 243 seats, maybe their voteshare would be about 20%. Isn’t it amazing that a man with a vote share of 16-20% has a brand value that stands at 87%? The elections exposed a lot of weaknesses in his party: he had no chance without Lalu’s help and the RJD won more seats than the JDU did. But Nitish Kumar’s face makes up for what the JDU lacks in cadre.

The BJP in Bihar has the cadre. The RJD in Bihar has the cadre. And Nitish Kumar has been enjoying the CM chair since 2005, standing turn by turn on shoulders of BJP and RJD. That is impressive, no matter how you look at it.

The seeds of this bizarre political arrangement lie in a disastrous decision of Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2000 to make Nitish Kumar the CM face in Bihar for NDA. Never give an alliance partner too much leeway. The BJP was out of power in Maharashtra for 15 years because it allowed Shiv Sena to take the lead. Flipping this ridiculous alliance will be an abiding legacy of Amit Shah.

The onus is now on Amit Shah to build in Bihar. Sushil Modi is the only choice here, really. There is no use dilly-dallying now. Give Sushil Modi command of Bihar BJP and perhaps declare Nandkishor Yadav as a face for Deputy CM. And it doesn’t hurt to play a little Chanakya and open some lines of communication with Lalu Yadav. Didn’t Nitish do the unthinkable and win power? So can BJP.

Why is Lalu Yadav sticking with Nitish? Because the only thing Lalu cares about now is settling his children. Go out and convince Lalu that there is no chance Nitish will share anything with his kids. That unless Lalu asserts his authority, Nitish is bound to backstab him like he backstabbed us. Get him to demand a clear and more conspicuous role for RJD in the ruling government. They have more votes. They have more seats. They deserve better.

(3) Modi’s seat in Delhi looks unshakeable : Untitled

So here are the projected vote shares for NDA in the mood of the nation polls since 2014:

April 2015: 38%

Aug 2015: 37%

Feb 2016: 37%

Aug 2016: 40%

Now, these vote shares in themselves might not have meant much, except that there is a remarkable stability to these numbers. Four successive polls, all showing the NDA hovering around the 40% mark. It is the consistency. With half the term over, we should have begun to see the signs of anti-incumbency, if there was any. But Modi’s numbers have held solidly near the 40% mark.

The 2019 election is definitely Modi’s game to lose. There is not a challenger in sight. In fact, it seems to be looking worse and worse for Rahul Gandhi… Regional challengers like Nitish Kumar or Kejriwal have no chance of reaching 20, let alone 272. And if there is one stable trend for last 15 years in Indian politics, it is that people like decisive five year governments and clear leaders. Modi has all the cards in his hands now. Don’t blow it.

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29 thoughts on “Lessons to learn from the Mood of the Nation poll

  1. Good analysis boss.Surprised that Raman Singh has such a high popularity rating.IMO,Modi will almost surely come back to power in 2019.I am not sure if BJP can get 272+ on it’s own but I am sure that NDA will cross that magic figure of 272.NRI voting if allowed could give an additional boost to Modi(by the way,Modi is so smart and has great foresight like I said before.He knows that NRI voting could become a possibility in 2019 and has already addressed the diaspora so many times.None of the other politicians have done this.He is too smart for them).

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    1. Yes, for me that was the most pleasant aspect of the poll. If Raman Singh is indeed the 3rd most popular CM in India, Chhattisgarh is in our pocket for 2018. Especially with Ajit Jogi splitting some Congress votes.

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  2. Elections in 2017-1)Goa-advantage BJP,2)UP-tight battle but BJP seems to have the edge,3)Punjab-likely to be a loss for SAD-BJP or a hung assembly,4)Manipur-BJP growing fast here and could win in 2017,5)Uttarakhand-BJP with the edge(according to poll numbers despite the fiasco),6)Gujarat-BJP with the edge,especially now that Anandiben has been replaced and 7)HP-Virbhadra Singh is corrupt so BJP might have a good chance here.

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    1. If BJP doesn’t screw up, it will have a fantastic 2017 with 5 wins: UP,Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Goa and HP. Three of these are guaranteed. One can be tricky. UP of course is the biggest battle. If BJP gets these 5, game is decided for 2019.

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  3. By the way,speaking of Himachal Pradesh,I wonder who BJP’s CM candidate will be.I have heard that the Dhumals are corrupt and the good news is that I’ve heard that they are missing from BJP posters.BJP seems to want young leadership and that is a good thing.Virbhadra Singh is very corrupt so BJP does have a good chance,especially if it gets a decent CM face.HP if I am correct is a revolving door state(two major parties alternate after 5 years).A few days ago,a party called the Himachal Lokhit Party merged with BJP.I don’t know much about this party.Wonder if it’s good.

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    1. Himachal and Uttarakhand are easy wins. Along with Gujarat, these are the 3 sure wins in 2017. BJP needs to watch out for sabotage by local RSS unit in Goa. UP of course is the main challenge. Win these 5 and 2019 is ours. I am least bothered about Punjab.

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  4. CW, you have terrific Chankya streak. Your analysis of electrol prospects, not required during Magadh period, elevates you as a modern Kautilya with all qualities of patriotism, Bhartiya culture, the most famous strategic thinking etc. of Vishnugupt in tact.

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  5. Important for BJP to correct Dalit perception and effectively turn the tables with plight of dalit leaders in other party (left, Cong, RJD, JD(U)) vis-à-vis BJP.

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  6. You made my weekend cw. As many readers said you really have a very good foresight. My gut feeling is that, bjp alone may cross 272. There may be loss in UP, but bjp will gain from other states. If modi is able to do something concrete on pakistan, then bjp alone will cross 300.

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  7. I have always wondered how many such opinion polls were conducted during UPA I & II. I hope BJP plays its card well in all state polls by declaring CM candidate well in advance and negating the opposition advantage. Closely following Dr Parveen Patil’s article UP poll predictions. Hope BJP gets a prominent figure to lead the UP campaign as CM candidate with a deputy.

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    1. CM candidate is needed in UP for two reasons: the state unit needs leadership. And secondly, I dont like this Congressi culture seeping in and BJP not investing in Chief Ministers.

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  8. Opposition and media have started to play “Dalit” game just as they did “Intolerance” and “Church Attacks” games in the past. BJP CMs should tell Dalits that OK, if you don’t want to process dead animals, fine. we will not force you. And the CMs should make arrangement to bury or burn animal carcasses. When Dalits are beaten up for not processing dead animals, the opposition and the media play up the incidences. Don’t forget, dead animals are bread and butter for many people. They will come back.

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    1. Modi has made a bold statement on the Dalit issue that resonated across the country. The PM is very serious on this. Ultimately, I think the opposition will lose out. The opposition is simply on the wrong side of history.

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    1. Well, Mood of the Nation polls have been around for a very long time. Happening every 6 months for over 25 years now. It is a flagship product of India Today group. I dont think India Today would want to damage the reputation of this poll.

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  9. Given the fact that LokSabha seats in North and Central India has reached saturation point, BJP must strive to expand its footprint in South and East. I feel, in 2019, Bengal will be an important state where BJP can significantly boost its numbers. With 42 seats, Bengal is a large state and Hindus are not divided in caste groups as the Hindi belt. Now that GST has been passed in Parliament, it is time to ditch the “friendly contest” policy with Begum Mamata Banu and go for an uninhibited invasion of Bengal and put the Islamo-fascist TMC in its proper place. Bengali Hindus have suffered a lot under the twin onslaught of Marxist brainwash and quasi-Sharia TMC bloodsuckers; time that they get a reprieve.

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    1. Absolutely. With BJP finally in the driver’s seat in Assam, the opening in the east should now come from Bengal. BJP needs to aim for 10 seats in 2019 from WB. And at least 5 seats from Kerala + TN. Also twist Shiv Sena’s arm into altering the seat arrangement in Maharashtra. BJP should be contesting at least 35 of the state’s 54 seats.

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  10. Off-topic, but here are a couple of items that are guaranteed to cross the “Burnol line”: 🙂

    The first shows P. V. Sindhu carrying a “bonam” (Telangana version of the Sanskrit word “bhojanam”) on her head at the Mahakali temple in Hyderabad:

    I am sure many have heard Coach Pullela Gopichand thanking the PM for inspiring the Olympic athletes, but if not, here is the link:

    Apparently there is a new Mameluk Priti Sayeed on the horizon.

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  11. Dear Friend today’s mumbai mirror has a hilarious article [http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31821&articlexml=Writer-let-off-obscenity-charge-STOP-THE-WITCH-21082016001024]. It’s about another left liberal fraud ‘RAHMAN ABBAS’ one of the eminents who returned the Sahitya Kala Awards due to intolerance. Read this article to find what these crooks don’t find to be intolerant!!!!!!

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      1. Welcome Chaiwalla,
        Really love your incisive analysis. Keep up the good work. Hope Chaiwall Sr. reads your blogs, as he’s in danger of losing his way due to be being mislead by the crooks named by you in today’s blog.

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