File image of PM Narendra Modi at the 150th anniversary of the Kolkata Port Trust | PTI
File image of PM Narendra Modi at the 150th anniversary of the Kolkata Port Trust | PTI
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The wave of youth euphoria that Narendra Modi rode since 2014 appears to be ebbing. Six years into the Modi government, India’s youth appears disappointed and frustrated, according to the latest survey data accessed by us.

Without economic growth and jobs, how potent is Modi’s appeal to the youth? Will they be satisfied just with the politics of Hindutva and endless cultural wars?

Modi’s national appeal to the youth began in 2013 with his speech at Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi. He won them over with the promise of a new era of economic development that he said will fulfil their teeming aspirations. But now, there has been a breach in the wall.


Also read: Modi faces no political costs for suffering he causes. He’s just like Iran’s Ali Khamenei


Why is the youth disenchanted?

A majority of young people believe the economy is going in the wrong direction, according to Mint YouGov CPR survey. As many as 46 per cent of Gen Z and 44 per cent of millennials are worried about the direction of the economy, compared to just 31 per cent of Gen Z and 36 per cent of millennials, who are satisfied with the direction of the economy. This is in contrast to older people, who display net satisfaction with the economy, albeit very marginally.

Anecdotally too, quite a few educated youngsters who backed Modi earlier, now openly express their frustration at the mismanagement of the economy and the constant emphasis on polarising issues. It is then not surprising that the youngest cohort (18-25) in Delhi elections was the age segment most likely to vote for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over the nakedly communal politics of the BJP.

This youth disaffection with the prevailing state of the country has been building up for some time now. There are two reasons for this.

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Also read: Modi got all the credit for lockdown. Now, he wants states to share risk of unlocking India


It’s the economy, stupid

First, the state of the economy. A government survey released last year suggested that 33 per cent of India’s skilled youth is jobless. This was also reflected in a March 2019 Lokniti poll that found unemployment to be the single-biggest political issue for voters. Then, Balakot happened, which swayed the youth back to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s camp.

The economic catastrophe brought on by Covid-19 and lockdown has further battered the youth, who are majorly employed in the less secure informal sector. As many as 27 million people between the age of 20 and 30 lost their jobs in the month of April alone, according to data from CMIE. Much of young India today is mired in uncertainty, having seen their colleges close, new opportunities vanish, and even existing ones in increasing peril.


Also read: The surveys can’t be true: Modi’s popularity has taken a beating with migrant crisis


And an ideology that divides

Second are the ideological issues that the BJP has focused on, particularly in the past one year, which have not found much resonance in the young. On questions related to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Article 370, and the protests at Jamia Millia Islamia University and Jawaharlal Nehru University, we find that the youngest cohort, the GenZ voters, are most likely to disagree with the Modi government’s stands, according to data from Mint Yougov CPR survey suggest. While both millennial and Gen Z voters narrowly backed the Modi government on most of these issues, the margin with which they did so was substantially less compared to older voters. In other words, the young are more evenly divided on these ideological issues than the old.

A majority of young voters also believe that Hindu-Muslim relations are going in the wrong direction. Gen Z supports this view even more strongly than the millennials, according to the survey data.

This relative ambiguity of Gen Z voters to hot button ideological issues could be influenced by the fact that a majority of those belonging to this group are either college goers or are about to finish secondary school. Most Gen Z voters (42 per cent to 33 per cent) disagreed with the police action at Jamia and JNU.

However, this trend must not be interpreted in terms of older conservatives and younger liberals, like in the West. For one, the evidence available on younger voters and their ideological moorings is ambiguous at best. While some surveys reveal, that on social issues, the young BJP voter is as liberal or conservative as a young non-BJP voter, there are others that suggest that young voters hold a jumble of liberal and conservative positions across various issues. Therefore, while previous surveys show that the Indian youth is becoming less conservative on social norms (marriage, dating, drinking), this is not likely to become an axis of political competition.

The current survey suggests that the younger voters show no distinct variation in self-identification with these terms across age groups. In fact, if anything, youngest respondents are least likely to readily identify with heavily politicised terms such as ‘liberal’, ‘secular’, or ‘feminist’.


Also read: Why the Modi government gets away with lies, and how the opposition could change that


But dissatisfaction doesn’t always convert into votes

These trends are merely an inkling of dissatisfaction, and do not imply that the Congress or any other opposition party can swoop in and reclaim their former vote share. Nor does this represent a serious political threat to Modi in an immediate sense. For dissatisfaction to translate into an electoral shift, voters need to see credible alternatives. There is no evidence that the young see the Congress yet as a credible alternative, including in the data accessed by us.

However, given that the BJP benefits immensely from the political majoritarian vote, the signs of an incipient age-based cleavage that appears to temper the party’s ethnic majoritarian-based cleavage seems to be a legitimate cause for concern.

Also, since much of Gen Z has come into adulthood in the Modi era, it has no strong memories of the 2011-14 period when Congress got delegitimised by a string of corruption scandals. This is a bloc that can potentially shift away from the BJP if targeted well. But unless the opposition parties actively and consciously try to address this disenchantment and aspirations of the young with careful messaging and an attractive alternative platform, they stand to gain little.

When the youth had got disaffected with the Congress at the fag end of UPA 2, a charming new suitor—Modi–pounced and swept them away. That suitor has now lost both his novelty and sheen, and the young appear disaffected again, but there are no new suitors on the stage.

Asim Ali and Ankita Barthwal are research associates at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. Views are personal.

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68 Comments Share Your Views

68 COMMENTS

  1. Ha ha…idiot journalists. It is known that Mullahs can never like Modiji. Don’t know where these 2 decorated journalists did their survey. May be in JNU.

  2. ASIM ALI and ANKITA BARTHWAL : You are idiots. If you really want to become a journalist or write articles, learn to do proper research and go based by authentic data. This article is nothing but a joke. grow up!

  3. Cannot say about the educated youths of today, but a survey of the deprived, devastated and back stabbed migrant workers, poor and the rural poor will surely reveal to Modi his true worth and standing. The way India has been let down and it’s self respect and security compromised on the border row in Laddakh with China, the way economy had been marred, marooned and plundered even before the onset of covid-19, the way banks are systematically fizzling, the way the the cultural ethos of the nation and the communal harmony is getting battered on a sustained basis, the planned way in which peace, amity and accord is getting drained away with each passing day and the disturbing silence of Modi on these burning issues are enough to haunt the Indian psyche for now and for all times to come. Unity among Indians as a cohesive society is at an all time low and anybody who airs the notion that these are favourable weather conditions for overall growth of the economy, lives in a fool’s paradise and is doing disservice to the Indian society by trying to mislead and misguide it. The Congress may have failed the nation but Modi who was elected as a viable alternative dooms the nation and has wrecked havoc in no uncertain terms, and this is the truth which would appear to be so unsavoury and unrelishing for any Modi enthusiast. And this one deadly fact should not be forgotten that Modi is one heck of an opportunist who never hesitates to kick back the ladder that assisted him to reach the top. We have the example of the deceased Gujrat lawmaker Hiren Pandya, L.K.Advani, Yashwant Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha, Uma Bharti ,Arun Shouri, Ram Jethmalani and the list goes on and on. This reveals the true nature, mettle and worth of this artful Dodger who has now become so famous for his alliterations and yoga postures in times of emergencies and crisis.
    (Md.Israil)

  4. Asim Ali, one of the author, accuses BJP of being a communistic party. He wants India to be a Muslim majority country and he is silent against the Kashmiri separatists and illegal Bangladeshis. If one speaks for Mullahs, he is secular, but if he speaks against Mullahs, he is communal.

  5. Congress looted India for 60 years, while the BJP looted double that sum of money in just six years. Surely that is an impressive feat !!!

  6. These folks wear blinkers so can only see what they want to see. As they say, you can wake up someone who is genuinely sleeping but cannot wake up those who pretend to be asleep. The only people I see around me who are disenchanted arr the people in Print, NDTV, Scroll, National Herald. Everyone else if pretty happy with what is happening

  7. आपके विंदुवार विश्लेषण से यह जान पड़ता है कि आपका सर्वे एक ग्लास व्हिस्की के साथ बैठकर लिखा गया है। हो सकता है कि उसके साथ सुंदरी भी हो।
    आप कृपया इस बात का हमे जबाव दे सकते हैं एक लेख के माध्यम से कि आपके पैदा होने के कितने दिनों बात आपके पिता ने या खुद आपने अपने पैरों पर खड़े होने की उम्मीद की होगी।
    सारे देश को लूट कर चाचा ने आगे लूटने के लिए वंशजों को खड़ा कर दिया और पूरी पीढ़ी को बर्बाद कर दिया। क्या आप भी उन्हीं लूटेरों में से एक हैं?
    क्या कभी देश को आगे रखा?
    अब यह ज्ञान मत देने लगेंगे कि उन्होंने देश को आजाद कराने में सारा योगदान दिया। देश कैसे आजाद हुआ इसे भी इतिहास से मिटाने के लिए गुहा, थापर, हबीब और न जाने कितने इतिहासकारों को आप ही की तरह लुटेरा गिरोह खड़ा करने में मदद की।
    इस प्रकार की खबर से अगर आपकी रोटी चलती हो तो कोई बात नहीं।
    वैसे भी लुटेरी महारानी के पास कितना लूट है जानता के सामने आ रहा है।

    • By 2024 find the real truth of this morally and monetarily corrupt govt, if you can instead of accusing others of brain washing.

  8. I completely agree with this news headline….We are very dissapointed with Modi. I understand, its covid due to which economy is battered but then what was Mr Modi doing from May 2014 till 2020 January? Since I have lived and studied in states for 10 years….I would like to point out the major differences:
    1: India have multiple things to chose – A: Adapt European Union Model, B: Should India need 2 Prime Minister as this country is diverse and complex to govern? 3: Modi and his entire ministers are frankly (Not have that desire, will or animal spirit) to change this country…… laziness is in our blood, genes, or a mentality of simply ruling this country as minister till i dont die.
    2: OK, Someone should Ask Modiji about what exactly happens under “MNREGA” scheme? – All what I know is poorest people are working for 12000 rupees per month – I have a better alternative to this…… India is a country of 130 crore people with 60 percent are illiterate and poor….. Why cant modi create 8-10 govt owned companies and list them in stock exchange.
    3: With 28 states and allmost 40- 50 crore people who are poor and looking for a job…..Why is he not putting each one of them for “HARD LABOUR JOBS”
    4: EG: CLEANING OF LAKES, RIVERS, SEWAGES, TAXIS, BST BUSES, COMMERCIAL VEHICLES, GARDENING JOBS, STREET CLEANING JOBS, TRASH PICKING AND DUMPING JOBS, AGRICULTURAL JOBS, INDIAN MILITARY JOBS, – 28 STATES HIRE 20 LAKH PEOPLE FROM EACH STATE I.E 5.6 CRORE PEOPLE……PAY THEM SALARY BY CHEQUE OF RUPEES 50,000/MONTH….. TAX THEIR SALARIES…..
    5: START DEVELOPING ROADWAYS,HIGHWAYS, BEAUTIFICATION OF HIGHWAYS,STREETS, CLEANING RAILWAY PLATFORMS, CONSTRUCT 20 CRORE HOMES OF 3BHK (HAM DO HAMARE DO) AND PUT ALL THESE PEOPLE IN THEIR HOMES…..FORCE THEM TO TAKE LOANS FROM BANKS…. LOAN TENURE 30 YEARS
    6: DEVELOP 10X UNIVERSITIES IN STEM FIELDS (SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGIES, ENGINEERING, MATHS)…… SHUT DOWN THOSE UNIVERSITIES WHO FAIL TO SKILL ANY STUDENTS WHO STUDIES FROM ITS UNIVERSITIES……..THERE ARE NO LAWS IN THSI COUNTRY WHATSOEVER
    7: TO REDUCE CASH….OPEN UP 10 TIMES MORE BANK BRANCHES AND NO MORE HANDLOANS FROM PEER TO PEER…..DEAL WITH BANKS
    8: IMMEDIATELY CHANGE OUR TAX STRUCTURE….. BORROWING RATE AT 4% AND TAXATION SHOULD BE FLAT AT 10% FOR NEXT 10 YEARS
    9: FIRST IMPLEMENT 1 TO 8 AND THEN I WILL FURTHER TELL HIM WHAT TO DO NEXT EG: WHERE IS INDIAS PENTAGON, RENOVATION OF RAJPATH AND MUCH MUCH MORE!

    • 1.First reservations in Education must end.
      Limit the number of professional colleges.
      There shall be one entrance Exam for Engg.Medicine,and Management ,commerce and law.
      The top 5000 people in each stream to be admitted in degree courses and rest offered diploma ,vocational courses.That shd be NEW caste system.Highly talented ,mediocre.2 .Agriculture income be taxed for those not tilling not living villages or paying IT already.3.Welcome suggestion IT and lending int rate.4.Private lending pawn brokering be banned. 5.Gold control act to be enforced.Gold must remain with RBI only.Bonds may be issued. 6. GST to be rationalised.One tax -one Nation.Items presently falling under 5%tax be totally exempted.All other items under 15 %tax. 7.Education be subsidised for wards of income group of 6 lakhs p.a.8.Control over overseas education /employment aspirants. 9.compulsory rural internship for Medicos &PGs. 10.Ban import of luxury goodsand all goods from China.&its allies.11.Include petrol,diesel &Elecy under GST.12.Restrict MRP on essential food items incl rice wheat milk sugar oils dals etc nation wide. ABOVE all with draw voting right to people availing subsidies free rations oldage pensions Jandhan etc.and also loan defaulters of PSU banks.

  9. Everyone knows print is anti india and we will not fall in your trap.from 70 years media have been fooling hindus.christians believed in church muslims believed in mullahs and we hindus like fools believed in media and you have been fooling us.now even though we are majority our life is worst than a minority. Thank you indian media for this.good or bad we hindus have only one option and that is modi

  10. Nobody can say that our economy is good, it’s worsen since BJP came to power. Job creation is very low, fuel price is skyrocketing . Govt needs a relook to robust our economy.

  11. What is this article based on? The youth came in this authors dreams? Passing of fiction as opinion and news is why twice these so called intellectuals have not been able to predict Modis victory

  12. Keepup ur valuable research and in-depth analysis resulting in such priceless articles.Soon U will notice that this is one of the last pieces U got to write. My appreciation of Centre for Policy Research has gone down notches noticing the kind of research their wards are producing.It’s a Shame n sham.

  13. Had Narendra Modi was not elected as PM and if Congress would have been elected the
    Indian country would have sold to other country with in 24 hours.

  14. The sordid situation the country is in, can not only attributed to the stupidity of the rulers, but also to the extreme cunningness with which they looted . If the wording of Dr.Manmohan Singh can be used it is an organised looting took place, in the name of note ban and thereafter. Petroleum price is one of the good example of their strategy. What happens to the huge taxes collected on petro products, is a top secret of BJP alone
    Almost all the government agencies were weakened, including Supreme Court. At every point, they made a foul cry on Congress to cover their own misdoings. When it came to crisis management, they proved helpless but kept on misleading the people telling lies one over the other. Even on the stand off with China at LAC, the cover technique was adopted so far. When opposition leader raised the subject, he and his party was chided and lies spread.
    Where the country is headed is something to be seen

  15. People are tired of the tyranny of the family in congress is well. There needs to be credible leader who can act as a effective opposition to the present government. And that is not congress. Go figure.

  16. Can you please share exact survey month and date referring to “ we find that the youngest cohort, the GenZ voters, are most likely to disagree with the Modi government’s stands, according to data from Mint Yougov CPR survey suggest.” . Looks like an interesting read. I tried googling for it but there are multiple surveys by Mint.

    • The writers must have chosen from multiple surveys to fit their conclusion. Hindus don’t care for hindu muslim relations. It is a breast beating issue with the muslims. Delusion is the drug for zombies who have a predetermined world view.

    • I hope you were with the youth of leftist only , Hahaha majority of youths wow what a joke, you will print and everyone will listen because you are news vendor and that wont work, whats the ideology of Islam huh why dont you write about it. Should i tell you what is nigah halala in the comment box and many more. Its enough you just sit tight and blame hinduism and what the islam is you cant show truth to people because you dont get the money for it.

      What the hell to post this comment i need to add my id but dont worry i will unsubscribe from the mail, dont send me your shitty mails.

    • Can you please stop asking for logic or rationale? This is a rant by the presstitutes of paid media badly hoping against hope that Modi would lose his sheen!

    • Yet another lament by the presstitute of the paid media who are desperately waiting for Modi to lose his clout by cooking up fictitious survey numbers. Little do they realise that public has become wiser and can identify facts from fiction!

    • The print, quint, scroll….these are sponsored by Anti Indian mind setters…..please do not read and subscribe them..

  17. Such amateurish article.. You guys doesn’t even know ground reality.. There is a real world out there beyond your propaganda against bjp and modi.. I would pop your bubble but there is no point… Conitue with your negativity.. The ones who elect govt isn’t the population who read your biased articles..

  18. The time of survey does not bode well with the surveyor’s action. It seems to be adding fuel to the fire especially in the supervening circumstances. I hope a professional surveyor may be conscious of the same.

  19. I have been writing in various Posts that Modi should look into economy. He should have competent people around him to aid and advice. He can have Dr Subramanian Swamy as the FM who may turn round the economy. Nirmalajee can go back to Defence and Rajnathjee can be equally powerful portfolio. I say this because I want Modi to succeed. Hindutva should not fail. It is a noble way of life based on excellent philosophy, Vasudeva Kutumbakam.
    a k pattabiraman, Chennai

  20. Brainwashing the youth is not going to help anymore. These kind of tactics are no longer fruitful. The youth are quite clever now and they know that every politician is a crook.

  21. ***Congress = We have just one family that loots.
    ***BJP = We are one large family of looters.
    ***O Gullible People of India, judge for yourself which kind of looter you would prefer, or perhaps you could do very well without a ‘Government’. Gone are those days when a POLITICIAN could be trusted. Perhaps in future it would be better to live without the presence of a Government !

  22. Modi phenomenon has been optical illusion on economic development fronts.If he had genuine vision & intention he would have entrusted the specialized job of implementation of much needed reforms to an economist finance minister right from his first term.In a large,diverse country like India completely disruptive economic policies like demonetization would never work,a real economist only would understand this fact.In India what is important is to create all types of economic opportunities for large population.This priority should drive all policies.Modi has scored only on political fronts & neglected economic prosperity of people.Infact Hinduism was never in danger in India & hence hindu majoritarianism is not needed.What is needed is continued economic prosperity which in-turn would help gain political weight across globe.India can learn lessons from China in this regard.Still there is time for Modi for course correction in the interest of nation.

    • Any sort of course correction should have been done at least five years ago. The economy kept slumping and even though all nations were warned, India did nothing about it. The Modi Govt was only keen on building RAAM TEMPLE. They forgot their priorities. They kept introducing various diversions to enable people overlook the BJP’s flaws. In the end it was not only the YOUTH who got fooled, even elderly people and pensioners got fooled. BJP-BOOTLICKERS will keep tom-tomming that everything is fine……SAB KUCH TEEK TAAK HAI. That is the only thing they are fit for !!!

  23. We trust in God, rest all bring Data to table. said Mr NRN, one of contributor to The Print. This article has everting except Data

  24. Your channel of news is full of anti national and anti modi, with full of fake news. You all wants to brake the country. In Davangere, Karnataka we have a team to end your anti national activities. We have ample evidence about your work we file fir against your all channels. See

    • Remove the mask from Shekhar Gupta’s face and you’ll see Asim Ali. Shekhar Gupta is getting anti-Modi propaganda done through Modi haters employed as journalists by ThePrint.

    • Yes yes…we all know about that SKUNK Sree Iyer, who has a part-time business of running the BJP-IT-CELL from Bangalore. Apparently, he is related to SubraMORON Swamy, though we don’t know which concubine begot him. In any case, carry on your ugly work, so that the world will know what the BeeJayPee is really doing to its own Indian Citizens.

  25. For hindu youth its totally acceptable to have no money,income under modiji, real threat they see is if india is left to English speaking liberals sickulars commis paid anti national parties n media , no sooner hindus will have to become refugees in pacific or American countries.it would be a same as untalked exodus of pandits from kashmir

  26. Maybe it is only the youngs working for ThePrint, TheWire, NDTV who are busy degrading Indias most successful PM. But any young ones whom I have met are die hard fans of Modi.

  27. Congrass and it’s SUPPORTERS ensured no population control measures, that has led to dire poverty and corruption . And now during this age of information technology their fake journalists acting as loudspeakers for them has proved as USELESS AS THEIR RHETORIC. CONGRASS SUPPORTERS are ” highly secular ” who believe that non believers will burn in hell.

  28. The author states “India’s young are no more charmed by Modi.” – this is total bull sh*t. Another attempt by The Print to create discord.
    The youth of India can see for themselves that PM is doing a good job, under very difficult & trying circumstances.

    And when they see Pappu bumbling & fumbling on TV – that alternative really scares them.
    Imagine Pappu against Xi Jinping…….

    PM Modi, we are with you.

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