Pew Research poll indicates big lead for BJP in India elections

Feb. 27, 2014 at 2:09 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Indians, by a 3-to-1 margin, prefer the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party to lead the country's next government, a Pew Research poll indicated.

The poll results released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center in Washington showed the BJP far ahead of the Congress Party, currently heading the ruling coalition, in the parliamentary elections, which must be held before May.

There will be more than 780 million people eligible to vote in the world's largest elections in the largest democracy with a population of more than 1.2 billion people. The voters will pick 543 lawmakers for the Lok Sabha, or the lower house of Parliament. The Lok Sabha will then elect the prime minister, who then will form the Cabinet.

The survey said 7-in-10 Indians are "dissatisfied with the way things are going in India today," and the "Indian public, by a margin of more than 3-to-1, would prefer the Hindu-nationalist opposition BJP to lead the next Indian government" rather than the Congress.

The survey, with a 3.8 percentage-point margin of error, was conducted between Dec. 7 and Jan. 12. It was based on face-to-face interviews with 2,464 randomly selected adults at their place of residence in states and territories that are home to roughly 91 percent of the population, Pew Research said.

The survey said those interviewed, by a margin of better than 2-to-1, said the BJP would do a better job dealing with major challenges facing the nation, from fighting corruption to fighting terrorism.

The Congress Party, which has led the coalition since 2004, has been hobbled by a number of corruption scandals and is battling a slowing economy, high inflation and fiscal deficits.

Narendra Modi, the BJP's candidate for prime minister and currently the chief minister of western Gujarat state, is more popular than Rahul Gandhi, the Congress Party's likely candidate for prime minister, the survey found.

The survey determined only 29 percent of those interviewed said they are satisfied with the current situation in the country, while 70 percent said they are dissatisfied.

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