Even as the Winter session of Parliament began with a confrontation over a united Opposition’s insistence on adjournment motions over the issues of price rise and black money, the UPA Government has blundered into another self-inflicted crisis – this time over the Cabinet’s sudden decision, by executive order, to open up the retail trade sector to foreign direct investment (FDI).
The announcement found not only the opposition parties, the BJP-led NDA, the Left
parties and the AIADMK, but also key UPA allies, the DMK and Trinamul Congress, rising in clamorous protest, with even nervous Congressmen voicing open dissent. All other contentious issues, including the Lokpal Bill, Telangana, Mullaperiyar dam, etc. seem to have been pushed to the background.
It is not surprising then that the November round of the monthly LensOnNews tracking poll should find that dissatisfaction with the UPA Government and PM Manmohan Singh remains high. Sixty-eight per cent of the respondents say they are dissatisfied with the performance of the UPA Government at the Centre with only 27 % saying they are satisfied. These numbers are not very different from those of a month ago, and are sharply worse than those recorded in August, the base month when LensOnNews commenced this series of monthly polls to track public sentiment.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s personal ratings on his performance as PM are little better than that of his Government (63% saying they are dissatisfied, against 31% saying they are satisfied).
With steady erosion in support for the UPA Government, there has been incessant talk of Manmohan Singh being replaced as PM by Rahul Gandhi and even of mid-term elections on the horizon. Hence the LensOnNews poll question: If elections were held today, which party would you like to see leading the Government at the Centre?
The answers show low and falling ratings for the Congress party, with only 24 per cent showing preference for it to lead the next Government at the Centre.
There has been a corresponding improvement in the position of the principal opposition party, the BJP, with 47 per cent seeing it as the alternative to lead the next Government at the Centre.
LensOnNews is also tracking the public sentiment on the prime ministerial sweepstakes - repeating the questions on the ‘Preferred Prime Minister’ asked in earlier months, matching up Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi one-for-one against each other.
For a reigning prime minister, Manmohan Singh’s rating remains abysmally low – 32 per cent when pitched against the Congress’s PM-in-waiting Rahul Gandhi, who scores 42 per cent; and only 27 per cent against BJP’s Narendra Modi, who scores a high 56 per cent.
Rahul Gandhi’s expected coronation on November 19 as Congress’s working president might have given a fillip to his numbers, but the date came and went by with Rahul not taking the plunge into bigger responsibility. He scores only 29 per cent against Narendra Modi’s 60 per cent rating as preferred PM.
This month’s LensOnNews tracking poll was carried out among a representative cross-sectional sample of 1375 voters in nine major cities (including four metros) between November 27 and 29. The findings are subject to a margin of error of 4%.