The “Mood of the Nation” poll by the LensOnNews.com has an unambiguous message from the voters—that the Congress party is corrupt. Stunningly, across all states and in all voter segments there is unanimity that the Congress party is more corrupt than the BJP, the principal opposition party at the Centre. Rarely do national surveys exhibit such a widespread and uniform adverse perception across the nation.
And, when it comes to overall suitability for governance, the Congress trails the BJP yet again nationally but retains its edge over the BJP among the caste and community groups constituting its traditional base.
The LensOnNews Poll was carried out among a representative sample of 3800 voters in 40 representative parliamentary constituencies across 14 states. The poll was conducted between June 12 and 16, and the findings carry a margin of error of 4 per cent.
‘Congress more corrupt’
The Lens Poll quizzed respondents as to which party between the Congress and the BJP is more corrupt. Elections are all about exercising choices and ideal alternatives don’t exist in the real world. And hence this comparison with the BJP, the principal opposition party at the Centre was sought.
As high as 58% of the respondents in the Lens Poll said that the Congress party is more corrupt as against 25% who said it was the BJP that is more corrupt. 17% had no opinion in this regard.
Evidently, the spotlight is on Congress which is seen as identified with all the recent high-profile scams such as 2G, CWG, Hasan Ali, Adarsh Society, the dubious appointment of the tainted PC Thomas as CVC, etc. And its attempts to paint the BJP as equally black haven’t worked. The study finding is particularly disturbing for the Congress party as the BJP (itself struggling with its own image and leadership problems and no longer seen to be a ‘party with a difference’) scores heavily over the Congress in relative terms.
What is remarkable is that there is unanimity on this ‘Congress more corrupt’ perception across all over India, in all states, without any exception whatsoever. Furthermore, with the sole exception of Muslims; every other voter group (urban-rural, gender, occupation, education and social groups) considers the Congress party more corrupt than the BJP. Among the Muslims, traditionally averse to the BJP, 34% see Congress as more corrupt against 38% in the case of BJP.
It seems that the series of scams, court intervention, media onslaught, arrests of political heavy weights and above all, sustained campaign by Anna Hazare team and Baba Ramdev have taken a huge toll of the government’s image. The ham-handed approach by the government to blunt the attacks, it seems, have only further stoked public anger. Though the BJP’s own efforts in targeting government over corruption has not made much headway, it is unwittingly benefiting from the efforts of all other stakeholders.
On Governance front, Congress bridges gap
Asked as to which party between the Congress and the BJP can offer a better government at the Centre, a small majority (52%) mentioned the BJP while the Congress was mentioned by 41% of respondents in the poll.
There is something in this survey that may give the beleaguered Congress party some relief. While the nationwide mood on corruption is adverse for the Congress party, in states like Punjab and Haryana, the Congress is the preferred party for governance at the Centre. And, among different voter segments, there are some segments that are still rooting for the Congress rule at the Centre despite finding the Congress to be corrupt. Less educated voters (58% to 33%), Muslims (75% to 17%), scheduled castes (55% to 33%), scheduled tribes (52% to 41%), and labourers (60% to 34%)—believe the Congress is better for governance at the Centre than the BJP. These traditional supporters of the Congress perhaps feel that they are better off and their interests are better protected by the Congress rule at the Centre.
While as of now, the Congress party continues to enjoy the patronage of its traditional caste/community support groups, would this support be adequate to blunt the adverse electoral consequences of its corrupt image? If the fate of the DMK in a similar context in the recent Tamil Nadu polls is any indication, the portents are not good for the Congress whenever the next elections come around.
Chetan Bhattarai is Assistant Editor, LensOnNews
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Also read Mood of the Nation poll (part 1) :
Poll finds people want leadership change; Rahul Gandhi preferred over Manmohan, Modi over Rahul