New Delhi: The India Today’s ‘Mood Of The Nation’ (MOTN) survey has revealed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys a strong bhakti cult, where no matter what happens in the country the loyalists of the prime minister will stick with him, said ThePrint’s Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta in episode 544 of ‘Cut The Clutter’.
A high 78 per cent of the people surveyed found the performance of PM Modi ‘outstanding or good’, while only while 17 per cent considered it ‘average’ and a 5 per cent termed it as ‘poor’.
The ‘Bhakti cult’ is evident across many populist leaders around the world — from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and even US President Donald Trump, whose affirmative rating is still more or less 40 per cent.
However, the survey also revealed that more than religion, nationalism is BJP’s strong point and their winning ticket. With the China crisis now looming large, people don’t want political binaries.
This is why 59 per cent respondents stated that India should go to war with its eastern neighbour over the Ladakh standoff. When asked how India’s military capabilities compare with China’s, 72 per cent said they believe India could win in a war against China.
People like to believe it’s only issues like the Ram Mandir that Modi is winning on. But the poll shows that the biggest success of the Modi government is the revocation of Article 370 — that also gets just 16 per cent. Only 13 per cent believe that the Ram Temple is the government’s most significant achievement.
This tells you that nationalism is a much stronger impulse for Indians than even religion.
The Opposition and others sometimes make a big mistake by thinking that Modi’s success or BJP’s success is all about religion and Hindutva. They underestimate the power of nationalism and national security.
Modi’s personality cast in titanium
Another very important reason behind Modi’s popularity is trust, Gupta said.
Modi won the elections on the strength of his personality. It’s like when people are sick, they go to a hospital. They trust the doctor. Later, they may say the doctor messed up and something happened. But when you are in a hospital, you trust those men and women in white.
Similarly, you trust a leader, particularly if it’s a leader who you hold generally in high regard. And in Modi’s case, some of this trust comes from the belief that he is selfless, that he’s trying his best.
People say Modi is Teflon-coated. However, Teflon coating can reduce over time with usage. But this is a personality, which is like it’s cast in titanium, Gupta said.
Finally, it’s an instinctive point that when in adversity, people stick to the tried and tested. So now with the coronavirus pandemic, the whole world facing an economic crisis and the Chinese at our borders — people think it is better to stick with the ones in power.
It’s once again like if you were in trouble in a hospital. As a patient, you really don’t want to change hospitals just because somebody tells you another hospital will be better because you have your tubes and you feel secure where you are.
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