Lok Sabha polls Phase-3: Modi govt's toughest perception battle ends today

Voters show their election cards as they stand in a queue to cast their vote, during the third phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Photo: PTI
When voting for Phase 3 of Lok Sabha elections 2019 ends on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government might heave a sigh of relief. The region going to the polls today is the one where, according to data, the Modi government is the least popular and gets the least credit for its 'tough on Pakistan' stance, especially with the Balakot air strike.


Voting in all five states of South India — Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana — will have concluded on April 23. Together, these states account for 129 parliamentary constituencies, or close to a fourth (23.75 per cent) of the total. 

While Uttar Pradesh might be the state that will decide the fate of the Modi government, the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies' (CSDS') National Election Study pre-poll survey, conducted towards the end of March this year, shows that Modi might face the toughest time in winning over voters in South India.

1. Anti-Modi govt sentiment in South India


Among all regions, South India had the highest percentage of respondents (47) who felt that the present government at the Centre should not get another term. It was also the only region where the respondents opining against the government getting another chance outnumbered those favouring another chance.

2. South India doesn't like where the country is going


South India was the only region that thought that the country was heading in the wrong direction, according to the survey.


Asked if they thought things in the country were heading in the right direction in general, 45 per cent of the respondents from South India said the country was heading in the wrong direction. Only 30 per cent felt India was heading in the right direction.

3. Balakot may not make a big impact for BJP in South India


The Modi government got the least credit in South India for conducting the Balakot air strike, found the survey.

However, the survey found that those who had heard of the Balakot air strike, across regions, were more likely to want Modi as the Prime Minister than those who hadn't. Further, it also found that across all regions, those who had heard of the air strikes were far more likely to want the government to return than those who hadn't.  


The CSDS survey was conducted with 10,010 respondents across 19 states — Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.


During Phase-1 of the Lok Sabha elections, all of Andhra Pradesh's 25 and Telangana's 17 constituencies went to the polls. During Phase 2, 38 of Tamil Nadu's 39 and 14 of Karnataka's 28 constituencies voted. Polling in Tamil Nadu's Vellore Lok Sabha constituency was cancelled by the Election Commission due to cash seizure. This constituency is voting in Phase 3, along with all of Kerala's 20 and the remaining 14 constituencies in Karnataka.