Gandhinagar: Politics has always been about perception, and Indian politics is no exception to that. Banners, slogans, stages shows and larger-than-life styled speeches had worked seamlessly for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2014 general election. But as they say, 'Truth sinks in, sooner or later'. As per the data gathered by The Lokniti-CSDS-ABP Mood of the Nation Survey, the perception of Narendra Modi’s invincibility looks gloomy now.

The saffron fortress, which once seemed impossible to penetrate at one point of time, seems to promise some gateway of entry for an outsider in the form of other parties, and it was visible during the by-poll election in the recent past. Democracy has its own way of course-correction. Poll-promises and lofty ambitions had backfired on leaders and parties in the past without exception.

When we look at the details in the survey, an oxymoronic picture between ‘perception’ and ‘reality’ have come up. While it looks natural for the party to claim that everything is hunky dory in its camp, but that was not the case in reality. BJP looks a bit nervous now, but there is no denying of the fact that Narendra Modi and BJP are still ruling the popularity index.

‘The highest form of pure thought is in Mathematics – Plato’

Let's delve into mathematics to clear the frost gathered on the mirror of political perception. The sociological premise of the report is based on the interview conducted with 14,336 respondents (people), covering 19 states, 175 parliamentary constituencies, 700 polling stations. The survey was conducted from January 7-20, 2018 with a multistage random sampling method in a standardized face-to-face interview in the local language of each people. Any scholar of Sociology would see the merit in the process before refuting it as unscientific. What emerged from the report can be summarized as follows.

- Modi’s government is about as unpopular right now as the UPA was in July 2013, nine months before its electoral debacle in 2014. Nearly half (47 percent) of the total respondents are now of the opinion that the Modi government does not merit another opportunity.

- Voters’ preference for Rahul Gandhi as the country’s next prime minister has more than doubled in the last eight months - from 9 percent to 20 percent.

Another indicator of people’s disappointment with the performance of the Modi government is their negative opinion on Achhe Din (Prosperous Days). There are in fact more people now who believe that Modi has failed to bring in the Acche Din, than those who think he has succeeded (50 percent-41 percent). Back in May, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) had said that Modi had succeeded in bringing Achhe Din. Eight months later, the figure has fallen to just four of every ten.

Not just farmers, but traders and shopkeepers too seem to be quite disappointed with the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government. The support for the BJP alliance among them has come down by 7 points since May 2017, from 50 percent to 43 percent.

While BJP seems to be very optimistic and confident of marching into 2019 general election with its allies, Congress in its newly found leader Rahul Gandhi too seem buoyant and energized to take the bull by its horn. The actual picture has interestingly started to emerge as we march closer to 2019. May the democracy win.