New Delhi: Bad news for the Congress-led UPA II as it completes its third year in power. An overwhelming 66 per cent of India’s urban population thinks the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government has lost its credibility to govern. Also, more than half of the respondents (59 per cent) expressed dissatisfaction with the current government.
As the UPA government completes its third year of the second term in power, CNN-IBN organised a poll in order to understand the pulse of the urban mindset in the context of the current state of governance as well as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s leadership of the Congress-led coalition government. The opinion poll, conducted by the market research firm GFK, was carried out in eight cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Lucknow) between May 8-10, 2012.
The government’s failure to handle Anna Hazare’s Jan Lokpal movement properly and the inability to take bold economic reforms emerged as the two main reasons behind the lowering of the credibility of the UPA government. The Anna movement issue finds highest mention in the north: Lucknow (60 per cent) followed by Delhi (21 per cent). On economic reforms, the highest mentions were in the west: Ahmedabad (41 per cent) followed by Mumbai (26 per cent ). The two issues had a relatively higher impact in terms of lowering the credibility of the UPA government among the youth (18-25 years of age).
According to the survey, price rise and the worsening of the economic conditions were the two key areas where the government has failed to perform. About 4 out of 10 respondents feel that the Government’s control over corruption has declined further. The dissatisfaction with the government on the issue of tackling corruption was the highest in Chennai and the lowest in Kolkata. Also, a majority of people felt that the threat of Naxal violence has remained the same or declined.
On Manmohan’s performance
The survey said the UPA government has failed to deliver on key issues. Price rise is seen as the biggest failure of the Prime Minister in his second innings, followed by his failure to check corruption. Then comes his failure to bring about economic reforms. Though the PM is perceived to be soft in tackling overall corruption – the measures taken against the accused in 2G and CWG scam have in general been appreciated.
24 per cent of the respondents mentioned that Manmohan Singh has knowledge and experience, but lacks the skills to govern effectively. Only 9 per cent of the respondents felt that he is innovative and can come up with new ideas.
55 per cent of respondent feels that Dr Manmohan Singh should be replaced by someone else and Rahul Gandhi is the most preferred as a replacement.
On PM candidate within UPA
Significantly, Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi seems to be the most preferred choice within the current UPA. 25 per cent of the respondents preferred him as PM as opposed to 20 per cent for Dr Manmohan Singh and 12 per cent for Congress veteran Pranab Mukherjee. Also, nearly 4 out of 10 respondents were disappointed with the performance of the Prime Minister in his second term.
Also, 48 per cent of the respondents mentioned that Rahul Gandhi should be the next Prime Minister of India. 44 per cent felt that he is young and has fresh ideas and energy.
On the presidential polls
There were varying views on the issue of the background of the President. In Bangalore, Kolkata and Lucknow, most of the respondents felt that a person with political background would make a better President while respondents in Chennai and Hyderabad felt otherwise.
Not surprisingly, ex-President APJ Abdul Kalam was the most preferred choice as India’s next president. While 51 per cent of the respondents wanted Kalam again in the Rashtrapati Bhawan, 16 per cent preferred Pranab Mukherjee. Ex-Infosys chairman Narayana Murthy was able to garner 7 per cent of the votes.
On UPA coalition partners
The general perception in the survey was that the current government is functioning under the influence of other coalition partners, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress being the most prominent amongst them. 54 per cent of people in Kolkata think that Mamata Banarjee is most responsible for pressurising the government.
On the next government
A majority of the respondents in the CNN-IBN survey (49 per cent) did not favor another term for the UPA II. When asked who would be the most ideal candidate from the opposition alliance, NDA, to be India’s next PM, 39 per cent of the respondents preferred Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi while barely 17 per cent preferred BJP veteran LK Advani. Even the party president Nitin Gadkari was able to manage 2 per cent of the votes.