Modi more popular than Nepali politicians, says opinion poll
Utpal Parashar, KATHANDU (HT): Prime Minister Narendra Modi is more popular in Nepal than the Himalayan nation’s politicians, says a new opinion poll.
Modi scored 68 on a scale of 0 to 100, seven points higher than Nepal’s President, Ram Baran Yadav, who scored 61, highest among the country’s politicians, according to the poll by Kathmandu-based research and consultancy firm Interdisciplinary Analysts (IDA) released on Sunday.
The IDA has been conducting similar polls since 2004, but this is the first time it has measured the popularity of a public figure from outside the country.
“Nepali politicians have failed to deliver (the new constitution). In contrast, Modi’s huge win brought about hope in India and may have had a spillover effect in Nepal,” said IDA executive director Dr. Sudhindra Sharma.
The poll on Nepal’s contemporary political situation was carried out after Modi’s hugely successful visit to Kathmandu last August when he wooed people by speaking in Nepali for several minutes in the country’s parliament.
He visited again last November to attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit.
The poll asked 3,000 respondents from 44 of the country’s 75 districts to rate prominent politicians in Nepal. In a separate category, they were also asked to rate the Indian Prime Minister.
Nepal’s Prime Minister, Sushil Koirala, came second among Nepali politicians with a score of 58 followed by his Nepali Congress colleague, Sher Bahadur Deuba, with 54.
The rating of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, once considered Nepal’s most powerful politician, has dipped significantly.
The Maoist leader, whose party was drubbed in the 2013 polls, scored 40, his lowest score since 2007 when he got 60. He managed to stay just ahead of former king Gyanendra Shah, who was in last place with a score of 38.
Though Nepal became a secular state in 2008, it seems many have still not reconciled to the change and 71% of respondents wanted the country to become a Hindu state.