BJP-Sena alliance may have advantage due to air strikes

ST Correspondent
Tuesday, 5 March 2019

While ruling coalition is preferred by urban voters, they are likely to face challenges in rural areas

Pune: It seems the recent preemptive air strikes conducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) after the cowardly terror attack on the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy at Pulwama in Jammu & Kashmir is likely to benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena (BJP-SS) alliance in Maharashtra ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

This is a finding of a survey conducted across the State by the Sakal Media Group (SMG).
At present, following the announcement of the alliance, voters are inclined toward the BJP-Sena alliance. According to the survey, urban voters prefer the BJP-Sena combine while their rural counterparts prefer the Nationalist Congress Party-Congress alliance. Generally speaking, though the BJP-Shiv Sena is the preferred choice among urban voters, the ruling coalition is likely to face challenges in rural areas.

The participants of this survey shared that preemptive air strikes carried out by IAF will help Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in the State.
Earlier, there was uncertainty among people about the future of the alliance but after the official announcement, the participants said this decision would help the ruling coalition.

Responding to the question whether Modi Government handled Kashmir issue responsibly in the backdrop of Pulwama attack, a majority of participants replied in positive. 

In the all-encompassing survey conducted by Sakal, a direct question was asked to voters about the political party of their preference. Similarly, there were several questions related to the preemptive attacks, if the decision to promote Priyanka Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh would help Congress. 

Moreover, there were questions related to the performance of the Modi Government, the unity among opposition parties and issues of prime importance ahead of elections.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, 48 per cent voters said they preferred the BJP-Shiv Sena while 45 per cent opined in favour of the NCP-Congress. In all, seven per cent voters said they preferred other parties.

There is a gap of only three per cent between the voters preferring the BJP-Shiv Sena over the NCP-Congress. 

Similarly, in next one or two months, which issues would be raised by the BJP-Shiv Sena or Congress-NCP will be interesting to watch for. 
The time ahead will tell us if the voters, who have claimed they prefer other parties over the current options, will remain firm on their stand and this will be a deciding factor ahead of the election.

As compared to the survey findings of the last time, the difference in voters preferring the BJP-Shiv Sena and the Congress-NCP has increased. In urban scenario, 49 per cent voters have preferred the BJP-Shiv Sena while 43 per cent have said that they prefer the 

In rural areas, voters prefer the Congress-NCP over the BJP-Sena. In all, 48 per cent voters preferred the Congress-NCP while 46 per cent preferred the BJP-Sena. 

So, here the Congress-NCP is ahead of the ruling coalition by just two per cent while six per cent voters have said that they prefer other parties.

If men’s and women’s preferences are considered, 49 per cent of the male voters have said that they prefer the BJP-Shiv Sena while 44 per cent have said they support the Congress-NCP. Similarly, 47 per cent women prefer the BJP-Shiv Sena and 45 per cent women voters have said that they prefer the Congress-NCP.In all, 48 per cent of voters from the age group of 18 to 45 years, 46 to 60 years have said they prefer the BJP-Shiv Sena.

In all, 61 per cent voters have said that the preemptive strikes will benefit the Modi government and 17 per cent have said air strikes will not help to win the elections and 22 per cent voters have shared that nothing can be said on this issue.

In the backdrop of the Pulwama attack, 43 per cent voters have said that the Kashmir issue was handled by the Modi government seriously and 35 per cent have said that the issue was not handled seriously. 

43 per cent voters in Maharashtra are of the opinion that the decision of choosing Priyanka Gandhi to assume the mantle in UP will help. However, 24 per cent voters have replied in negative. 15 per cent voters have said that this decision will not affect election results. 42 per cent voters in urban and 44 per cent rural voters have claimed that Gandhi joining top ranks of the party will benefit the Congress.
Overall, voters in Maharashtra are curious about Priyanka Gandhi’s performance. So, it will be interesting to observe whether Priyanka Gandhi conducts her rallies in Maharashtra and where she conducts them.
The voters have said that as compared to elections conducted in last four years, Modi’s charisma will be seen in this election. In all, 34 per cent voters have said there will a Modi wave, 40 per cent have said that Modi will have some influence and 19 per cent have said that Modi charisma will not be seen this time. 

Only seven per cent voters have chosen ‘can’t say’ option. In urban areas, 35 per cent urban voters have shared that there will Modi charisma and 41 per cent of rural voters have said that Modi’s charisma will be partially seen. 

34 per cent voters have voted in favour of Modi’s performance, 42 per cent have said the performance was okay while 24 per cent have said that performance was unsatisfactory.

40 per cent voters feel that lack of a strong opposition party is working in favour of BJP and 26 per cent voters have said that lack of strong opposition will not help the ruling party. 34 per cent voters have chosen ‘can’t say’ option.
39 per cent voters have said that the sitting MLA and MP should change, 26 per cent voters have voted in favour of the sitting MP and 24 per cent have said different candidates from the same party should get a chance. 42 per cent rural voters have said that both sitting MP and MLA should change and 3 per cent  urban voters feel the same.

34 per cent voters have said that party, leaders and the party or alliance’s stance on matters of national importance are some of the crucial factors rather than caste and religion of the candidate.  Next to this, the understanding of local issues and the skill to resolve local issues are some of the important factors. 29 per cent voters give priority to this. 15 per cent of voters give importance to age, education, character and vision.

For the past many years, Sakal is taking into account the views of voters. In last few surveys, according to voters, inflation and price rise were important issues. 27 per cent voters have said inflation is an important issue, 22 per cent have said agriculture issues and 15 per cent have said that unemployment is an important issue. Only 9 per cent voters said that the relations with Pakistan and China are important to them.

As the elections will be declared soon, seat sharing talks, road shows, campaigning and meetings have gathered momentum. Against this backdrop, Sakal is conducting a survey to know the preferences of voters

How will you evaluate the performance of PM Modi? 

  • Best: 34        
  • Okay: 42
  • Can’t say: 23

Do you think the Modi government did not handle the Kashmir issue seriously?

  • Issue handled seriously: 43 
  • Not handled seriously: 35  
  • Can’t say: 22

Ahead of Lok Sabha elections, please select important issues?  
1) Inflation and price rise: 27
2) Agricultural issues: 22
3) Unemployment: 15
4) Relations with Pak and China: 9
5) Corruption and irregularities: 7
6) Communal tensions: 5
7) Basic infrastructure: 4
8) Law and order: 4

Do you think preemptive air strikes conducted by IAF will benefit PM Modi? 

  • Yes: 61
  • No: 17
  • Can’t say: 22

Do you think that PM Modi’s influence will be more in the elections as compared to the elections conducted last four years?

  • Total influence: 34 
  • Slight influence: 40 
  • Not really: 19 
  • Can’t say: 07

Will the decision of choosing Priyanka Gandhi to take charge of Uttar Pradesh help Congress Party? 

  • Yes: 43
  • No: 24
  • No effect: 18 
  • Can’t say: 15

42 per cent people from 18 to 25 feel Congress will benefit by this decision

Continuous Survey
The survey was conducted in the 288 assembly segments. The participants chosen for this survey were men as well as women to reflect the opinion of voters. Care was taken that they were from urban-rural areas and were having different professional and educational backgrounds and belonged to different age groups.      

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