Amid the relentless tug of war between Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharatiya Janata Party in West Bengal, India Today TV’s Political Stock Exchange (PSE) shows that 46 per cent of respondents feel that the Mamata Banerjee government was not right in stopping Amit Shah’s rath yatra in the state.
The poll showed only 26 per cent supported the state government’s move to halt the rath yatra whereas 28 per cent didn’t swing either way.
The BJP had to drop its rath yatra plan across the state after the Supreme Court on January 15 rejected its plea. The party shifted its strategy from rath yatras to rallies, with BJP president Amit Shah holding the first rally in Malda district on January 19.
The proposed 41-day rath yatra was seen as an attempt by the BJP to establish its foothold in the state ahead of the Lok Sabha polls although it witnessed many twists and turns in the past two months. The TMC, which has been ruling the state for two consecutive terms, has 34 Lok Sabha seats of the total 42 while the BJP has just two.
Violence is not a new occurrence in Bengal. Both the BJP and TMC keep accusing each other of instigating violence. As recently as Tuesday, clashes were witnessed at Kanthi in East Midnapore district soon after Amit Shah’s rally. The PSE survey shows that the TMC tops the list when it comes to political violence, with 28 per cent of the respondents blaming the ruling party.
The BJP bags the second spot with 14 per cent, only 1 per cent blame the Left Front and others at 17 per cent. A good 40 per cent ticked the “don’t know” box.
On Monday, CM Mamata Banerjee described the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as an electoral gimmick and said she would not let anyone implement it in West Bengal. The PSE survey, however, shows that 48 per cent of the respondents are saying there should be NRC in the Bengal as well. Thirty per cent do not support it.
According to the poll, both the state and central governments scored on the performance meter since October 2018 when the last PSE was conducted. As many as 55 per cent gave thumbs up to the central government’s performance, a rise of four per cent in three months. Twenty-three per cent expressed dissatisfaction, down by two per cent.
Asked about the performance of the West Bengal government, 46 per cent of the respondents were satisfied, up by three per cent, while dissatisfaction level was down to 22 per cent from 30 per cent in October.
The poll revealed that 49 per cent respondents backed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the top job of the country. In October, the PM got 46 per cent votes. On the choice of next prime minister, Mamata Banerjee bagged the second spot, ahead of Rahul Gandhi, with 25 per cent backing the West Bengal CM, witnessing a four per cent rise from last time. Rahul stock has fallen from 20 per cent to 15 per cent.
CM Banerjee’s stock has risen by one per cent since October, with 54 per cent supporting her as the next chief minister. West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh stood second at 14 per cent while BJP MP Babul Supriyo with 6 per cent votes came out third.
Much of the current debate in the country is centred around farmers’ issues. The state government had recently released a sum of Rs 1,600 crore in order to provide minimum support price (MSP) to the maximum number of farmers. But the ground reality appeared grim. Asked whether Bengal farmers are getting proper product price, 55 per cent said “no” whereas only 30 per cent came in support.
Asked about the Rafale deal, like most other states, 60 per cent of the respondents were not aware of the fighter jet agreement while only 23 per cent knew about it.
The poll also highlighted major issues confronting voters ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Unemployment worried 30 per cent of the respondents followed by drinking water (26 per cent) and agrarian issues (18 per cent).
The PSE survey was conducted between January 20 and 29 via telephonic interview in 42 Parliamentary constituencies of West Bengal. The poll had a sample size of 4,620.
In power since 2000, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik still remains the most favourite leader of the state despite some dip in his popularity over the past four months.
In the January data, around 52 per cent of the respondents backed him as the state’s next CM, compared to 54 per cent in November and 59 per cent in September.
The PSE also shows BJP leader and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s stock has risen since September. But he is nowhere near the chief minister on the popularity index.
Around 21 per cent of voters supported Pradhan as Odisha’s next CM four months ago, 24 per cent in November and 26 per cent now, the survey suggested.
Forty-nine per cent of the voters expressed satisfaction with the state government in January, up from 44 per cent in September.
Twenty-seven per cent found it average, down from 32 per cent in September, while 18 per cent said they were not satisfied.
On the question of the next prime minister, 58 per cent respondents threw their weight behind PM Narendra Modi in January, up from 57 per cent in November and 54 per cent in September.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi trailed at 20 per cent, down from 23 per cent in November and 21 per cent in September.