The latest Sunday Indian Cover Story!!! Who holds the aces: Rahul or Modi?



It is the race of a lifetime. Who is most likely to be the Prime Minister of India in 2014? That is the billion rupee question that this issue of TSI seeks to answer. In an exclusive survey, Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi emerge as the two frontrunners. But by all accounts, it is going to be a close fight.

Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi are frontrunners for the Prime Minister's post in 2014. Would you say the two candidates are most appropriate, somewhat appropriate or not appropriate at all?

 

 

Support for Rahul Gandhi among supporters of different parties

 

 

Net support for both leaders among supporters of different political parties

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support for Narendra Modi among supporters of different parties

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Prime Minister, which politician according to you, would provide the most effective leadership to the country on the following issues:

Has Narendra Modi's time finally come? That would be the germane of the exclusive survey conducted by  TSI – Abacus Research on the State of the Nation in which India's top politicians have been tested against various critical parameters. The two leading prime ministerial candidates for the 2014 General Elections are Gujarat strongman Narendra Modi and Congress scion Rahul Gandhi.

In a list of high profile political wannabes which include the likes of Nitish Kumar, Mamohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi; Modi and Rahul emerge as clear favourites. According to the survey, on the three most significant parameters of who can best boost economic growth, arrest inflation and create employment; Narendra Modi trumps Rahul Gandhi. A sizeable 28.4 per cent think Modi is the man to take India's growth story ahead while 19 per cent think it could be Rahul . Modi is best suited to counter inflation, say 23.7 per cent of those interviewed while 27 per cent believe Modi has what it takes to fight unemployment.

Modi tops on a number of other counts as well. A vast 25.5 per cent believe as prime minister, he can help improve living standards in India followed by Rahul Gandhi at 15.9 per cent. Another 29.5 per cent say Modi can limit illegal migration from Bangladesh while a majority of respondents felt he would the best bet to improve socio-economic standards of Dalits and tribals. The Gujarat chief minister here leads with 18.5 per cent and 18.2 per cent respectively. On both counts, he is followed closely by Rahul who too has a substantial base;  15.7 per cent pick him as the politician who can lead the Dalits and 17.6 per cent say he is best suited for tribals. Interestingly, a clear 17.4 per cent saw Modi as the best candidate to normalise ties with Pakistan. In this, he is closely followed by Manmohan Singh at 15.4 percent and Rahul Gandhi at 11.8 percent. On the sensitive subject of improving the social and economic well-being of Muslims, it is Rahul, who 18 per cent respondents believe, will be the ideal PM followed by Narendra Modi at 17.4 per cent and Manmohan Singh at 9 per cent. 

In fact, so overwhelming is Modi's sweep on some other critical parameters that it would appear that India is indeed looking towards a strong leader after years of dithering. At 25.6 per cent, he is the politician who can control an ineffective bureaucracy as compared to 12.3 per cent of those who back Rahul. For a country in dire need of improving infrastructure, Modi is the man with a halo round his head. A whopping 25.6 per cent  say he can improve roads, railways, electricity and water supply. At some distance away, he is followed by Rahul with 11.1 per cent votes.

Modi also scores on some other important issues that dominate India's political landscape. About 20.9 per cent see him bringing lasting peace in northeast India, currently in the throes of battling ethnic violence. His strong stand on security is best reflected on the Kashmir question. A strong 20 per cent respondents say Modi can restore peace in the Valley followed by Rahul Gandhi at 13.4 per cent and Manmohan Singh at 8.8 per cent.

The most intriguing reply comes on the question, which politician is the most effective bulwark against communal riots? A surprising 19.9 per cent favoured Narendra Modi for that job – a point not likely to be taken too kindly by hard nosed anti-Modi activists on the trail of the 2002 Gujarat riots. Rahul Gandhi too scores handsomely; 14.4 per cent voters felt he is the best counterweight to communal rioting.

Modi is also seen as ideally suited to resolve the Naxalite problem as well as being the best antidote to recalcitrant and unreliable political allies in running a coalition government.

The sample size for this exclusive survey is 16,142 respondents in 27 states. Fieldwork was carried out between the first week of August and the first week of September, 2012.    

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