A survey with a sample size of 14,600 adults cannot define the mood of 136 crore countrymen

BBC article titled "Pandemic and sluggish growth take a hit on Modi" revolves around a small-sample size survey and uses it as a basis to make false assumptions and claims. The article uses India Today’s ‘Mood of the Nation’ survey, conducted in July 2021 to portray PM Modi in a bad light.

Also, the article blatantly evades some findings and tries to distort the survey. For example, the article, referring to the survey, says, “Only 24% of respondents considered the 70-year-old leader best-suited to be India's next Prime Minister.”

The article doesn't mention that Prime Minister Modi got the most votes in the survey. Also, the survey found the combined preference for Modi (24 percent), UP chief minister and BJP leader Yogi Adityanath (11 percent) and Union Home Minister Amit Shah (7 percent)-- 42 percent.

In the survey, 16 percent respondents rated PM Modi's performance as "outstanding", 38 percent rated it as "good", 30 percent rated it as "average", 11 percent as "poor", and 5 percent as "very poor". This means that 54 percent have a positive view of Modi's performance. The BBC article has blatantly evaded this finding too.

In response to the question "Who do you think has been India's best prime minister so far?", 27 percent respondents chose PM Modi, 19 percent picked Atal Bihar Vajpayee, 14 percent picked Indira Gandhi, 11 percent Manmohan Singh, 8 percent Jawaharlal Nehru, 7 percent Rajiv Gandhi, 6 percent Lal Bahadur Shastri, 3 percent PV Narasimha Rao, and VP Singh and Morarji Desai were at 2 percent each.

So this means a greater number of people picked Modi as India's best PM ever. PM Modi fared better in competition with popular former PMs like Jawaharlal Nehru, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Indira Gandhi. The BBC article did not mention this either.

The article talks about BJP’s “crushing defeat in West Bengal” in the 2021 assembly polls. The fact is that though BJP lost the assembly election in West Bengal, the party made many impressive gains.

In the 2016 assembly election, the party bagged three seats and garnered 10 per cent vote share. In the 2021 election, it won 77 seats - an increase of 74 seats and secured 38.13 per cent vote share - a jump of 28.13 per cent. Modi's party has sidelined the Left and the Congress, which had ruled the state for 64 years since independence, and has become the only opposition party there.

The article says that PM Modi has been using “dog-whistle politics - coded, divisive messages - to stoke sectarian tensions.”

So, is the writer trying to say that about 30 crore countrymen who cast their votes for NDA in 2019 Lok Sabha election were influenced by the “divisive” politics of PM Modi? The NDA had garnered 45 percent vote share in 2019 general elections in which 614,684,398 people cast their votes. The truth is that PM Modi achieved victory in the election due to his government’s achievements and firm decisions on the fronts of economy, national security, anti-terror operations, and social welfare.

The article says that “Modi has been a polarising leader.” What about the temple-run of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in every election? What about the TMC which, in the recent assembly polls, painted itself as a nativist force while the BJP as a party of outsiders and Borgis? During the election campaigns, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee had visited Shiv, Kali, Krishna and Durga temples across the state. Her videos of performing ‘aarti’ and offering pooja were live streamed.

In the 2019 General Elections, there were hundreds of posters and banners in which she was seen wrapping a hijab around her head or photos of her 'namaz' offering.

*** The writer is a Delhi-based journalist; views expressed are his own