Modi's appeal clouded in India election by prices, jobs, graft, survey says


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures, at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in New Delhi, India, June 4, 2024. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

By Tanvi MehtaNEW DELHI, June 6: Lack of jobs, high inflation and falling income in India led voters to rein in support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the general election where his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed to win a majority, according to a survey.

However, Modi's leadership was a strong attraction in giving his alliance another term, it said. He was named the leader on Wednesday of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) that won a majority of the seats, the first time his Hindu nationalist BJP has to lean on regional parties for support to form the government.

The NDA won 293 seats in the 543-member lower house of parliament, more than the simple majority of 272 seats needed to form a government. The BJP won only 240.

The INDIA alliance led by Rahul Gandhi's centrist Congress party won over 230 seats, more than forecast.

Modi is scheduled to meet President Droupadi Murmu on Friday to stake his claim to form a government, an NDA leader said on condition of anonymity.

At least 30% of voters said they were worried about inflation, a jump from the 20% prior to the election, according to a survey by Lokniti-CSDS, the Hindu newspaper said. The agency spoke to nearly 20,000 voters across 23 of India's 28 states throughout the voting period, it said.

The Hindu said that in an earlier survey conducted before the election, unemployment was the main concern of 32% of the respondents.

"However, during the campaign, possibly on account of the promises of employment resonated with voters, this proportion was reduced to 27% in the post-poll survey," the newspaper said.

Decreasing income and the government's way of dealing with corruption and scams were other issues worrying voters, according to the survey.

A total of 21% of the respondents said they chose the BJP for its efforts in developing the country while 20% did so for Modi's leadership, which doubled from the 10% in the pre-poll survey.

Construction of a grand Hindu temple in the town of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh state in January, cited several times by Modi and the BJP as a landmark event, was the most liked work of the government, according to the survey.

Despite that, the party was unable to win the Faizabad seat where Ayodhya is located. It also performed poorly in other parts of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state which sends 80 lawmakers to parliament. The BJP's share of seats there slipped to 33 from 62 at the last election.

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