Bihar poll chooses Modi as PM, Nitish comes 3rd

According to an opinion poll, not only do Bihar voters reject Nitish as PM, but prefer Modi, Rahul and Manmohan to him.

Published: 08th July 2012 09:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th July 2012 09:43 AM   |  A+A-


Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s sustained public hostility against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi may be a diatribe to underline his ‘secular’ credentials. A new opinion poll in Bihar, however, reveals that Modi is Bihar’s choice for India’s next prime minister. Not only have voters rejected Nitish as PM, he comes below Modi, Rahul and  shares third spot with Manmohan Singh.

The LensOnNews poll was carried out among 2,000 voters in seven assembly constituencies of Bihar. To the question “Who, in your opinion, is the best candidate for PM in the next Lok Sabha elections?”, 36 per cent named Narendra Modi. Rahul Gandhi came next with 15 per cent, followed by Manmohan Singh and Nitish Kumar at 12 per cent each. L K Advani polled 6 per cent while 5 per cent of voters favoured Sonia Gandhi as PM. Seventy-one per cent voters felt Modi has the necessary national importance to be PM. Nitish polled only 21 per cent in this category. In a significant stance, 61 per cent of those polled disapproved of Nitish’s opposition to Modi as the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate.

The majority of voters—54 per cent—still feel Nitish should continue as the chief minister against 40 per cent who want a change in government. However, 49 per cent of respondents prefer his last tenure to the current one. Growing corruption in the state may become Nitish’s Waterloo: 34 per cent of those polled said failure to arrest corruption is Nitish Kumar government’s biggest failing. Interestingly, corruption at the Centre doesn’t annoy people of Bihar that much: only 11 per cent named it as the UPA’s biggest fault.

The LensOnNews poll results show Bihar has given the thumbs down to the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government with only 23 per cent feeling its performance is good while 41 per cent called it poor. The price rise has destroyed the goodwill of the voters; 62 per cent of the respondents blame it as the Centre’s biggest failure. Sixty-eight per cent would like a change of government at the Centre as well in the next Lok Sabha poll, with only 24 per cent saying the present UPA government should return.

Asked which party, in their opinion, would give the best government at the Centre, 50 per cent picked the BJP while only 23 per cent plumped for the Congress. And if elections to the Lok Sabha were held now, 34 per cent say they would vote for the BJP, while 18 per cent pick the JD(U). Lalu Prasad’s RJD is at 15 per cent, with the Congress coming in fourth at a low 12 per cent.

This should boost the BJP’s spirits in Bihar and nationally as well. The party has been locked in a fast deteriorating battle with its ruling ally, the Nitish Kumar-headed JD(U). The results of the poll show that Nitish will fare badly if he decides to break with the BJP and go it alone. When asked which party would they vote for in the coming national elections if Narendra Modi is BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, the BJP is ahead with 38 per cent, while the JD(U) is a poor second with 16 per cent. Showing the overall decline of the Congress in the country, it polled only 12 per cent in Bihar while RJD bagged 12 per cent.

Political sources in Bihar feel that Nitish’s support to Pranab Mukherjee as President, his bitter opposition to Modi and the internecine war within the JD(U)-BJP coalition are signs that he may break with the NDA before the 2014 general polls. The poll asked respondents what they would feel if Nitish partners with the Congress in the general elections against the BJP? The results are devastating for Nitish: The JD (U)-Congress pact would trail the BJP’s 38 per cent vote share by a wide margin—the combined vote share of JD(U) and Congress totals only 27 per cent {16 per cent of JD(U), 11 per cent of Congress}.

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