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26 February 2024

India ruling party losing public support-poll

By Reuters

India's ruling Congress  party is losing voter support and would lose over 40 seats if  an election were called tomorrow as billion dollar scams and  corruption allegations take their toll, a poll showed. 

A $39 billion telecoms scam, corruption accusations over  last October's Commonwealth Games and the resurrection of a  25- year-old defence contract kickback scandal have all dented  public confidence in the party that leads the ruling coalition. 

In an election, Congress would see its majority slashed by  a loss of around 40 of its current 206 seats, the AC Neilsen poll showed, as 44 per cent of respondents said Prime Minister  Manmohan Singh's previously unimpeachable image had been affected by the scandals. 

The Mood of the Nation poll, conducted by AC Neilsen and  India Today magazine, surveyed 12,349 voters across 19 states  in face-to-face interviews between Dec 4-19. 

Opposition protests over inquiries into the corruption  allegations have paralysed parliament since November, branding  the government as ineffective and possibly leading to early  elections in the five-year cycle to break the deadlock. 

Congress won a second successive term in the 2009  elections. The poll said its main opposition, the  Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, would gain over 20  new seats in a election if it were held tomorrow. 

Congress slipped in popularity by three percent among  India's poor - a key constituent of its vote bank. But 42  per cent of respondents thought a Congress-led coalition would  still return to power in a general election in 2014. 

Party chief Sonia Gandhi, seen as the real powerbroker of  the party, saw her popularity as a prime ministerial candidate  plummet to 8 per cent from 27 per cent in January 2006, with 43 per cent of respondents saying her image had been affected by  the scams.