Indian PM enjoys strong public support two years after election

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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys strong public support over two years after winning power, with most people happy with his efforts to tackle corruption and other problems plaguing India, a poll showed Monday.

Eighty-one percent of voters surveyed by the US-based Pew Research Center said they were satisfied with the Hindu nationalist premier, whose party won a landslide general election victory in 2014.

Main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi, who heads the Congress Party, was seen favorably by 63 percent of the public, almost unchanged from last year.

Modi suffered a dip in the intensity of his support, with 11 percent of those surveyed this year switching to “satisfied” from “very satisfied” when questioned in 2015.

Forty-nine percent thought he brought people together while 29 percent believed he was divisive.

Modi has been criticized since coming to power for failing to rein in hardline Hindu nationalists accused of attacking Muslims and other minorities and fostering a culture of intolerance.

He had come under fire over communal riots in his home state of Gujarat when he was chief minister in 2002. The unrest left at least 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, dead.

But he swept to power nationally on a promise to reform and revive the then-struggling economy and help find jobs for the unemployed youth.

More than half of those surveyed approved of Modi’s efforts to tackle India’s grinding poverty and unemployment (62 percent), terrorism (61 percent) and corruption (59 percent).

Sixty-five percent were also satisfied with the way things were going in the country, up nine percentage points from 2015 and 29 points from 2014.

However only 22 percent approved of Modi’s policy regarding neighbor Pakistan. Modi made high-profile efforts after coming to power to improve relations but ties have since soured.

New Delhi blamed Pakistan-based militants for an attack on an army base on Sunday in Indian-administered Kashmir that killed 18 soldiers.

A total of 2,464 people were interviewed face-to-face for the survey, which has a 3.2 percent margin of error. AFP

AFP/CC

 

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