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Election Tracker: Local interest might dent BJP's chances in Mumbai

23-April-2014
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Election Tracker: Local interest might dent BJP's chances in Mumbai

As Mumbai prepares to go to vote on April 24, 2014, we took a look at what the general sentiment is among the Mumbai Twitter public on the various political parties and leaders who will battle it out against each other in the 16th Lok Sabha elections.

The Shiv Sena seems to be the most favoured political party, with 24.1 per cent positive mentions, their nearest rival is the NCP with 22 per cent positive sentiment. Surprisingly, Shiv Sena ally, the BJP, has very low approval scores with just 9.7 per cent positive mentions. This means that BJP is only above Raj Thackeray-led MNS (6.8 per cent) in terms of favourability.

However, as is evident from the slide above, the NCP also has the most polarising stats, with the party also having the second highest negative mentions (7.3 per cent). Political analysts have predicted a tough battle for NCP, which is a key Congress ally in the state, and the statistics uncovered by Simplify 360, which looked through Twitter conversations from January till now, seem to also suggest that people (at least those expressing themselves on Twitter) are divided about the party.

Narendra Modi, going against his national form, has just over 13 per cent positive mentions. Does this mean that the Modi wave has not worked in Mumbai? It has usually been noticed that though the BJP might still lack in positive sentiment among the populace, the popularity of their PM candidate has remained unsurpassed. With Modi a distant 10th in the popularity standings, the BJP seem even more reliant on Shiv Sena’s apparent good standing with the Mumbai voter base (as seen with the high positive mention) to cement their position in the state.

In 2009, the Congress-NCP alliance benefitted as MNS ate into Shiv Sena’s vote bank, which cost the Sena-BJP alliance dear. This time around, however, things look to be different. The MNS has not fielded as many candidates, and party supremo Raj Thackeray has publicly admitted his admiration for Narendra Modi. There has been speculation of a secret deal between MNS and BJP, however, leaving speculations aside, the BJP-Sena alliance might be happy to see that MNS has the lowest favourability score among all the major political powers in the state. It seems this year, whether due to political strategy or through vox populi, the MNS is not destined to play the role of king-maker once again.

Interestingly enough, when it comes to individual leaders, it is the Congress candidates and leaders who have the higher popularity scores. Sanjay Nirupam, who is Congress’ candidate for North Mumbai, and Milind Deora, the Congress candidate from Mumbai South, have the highest positive sentiments among the 13 leaders and candidates who we looked at. Both are sitting MPs and this might be an indication that the residents of their constituents seem satisfied to have them at the helm.

From the Simplify360 analysis, it seems that AAP’s Medha Patkar, who is contesting from the same constituency as BJP’s Kirit Somaiya (North East), has clearly garnered more positive sentiment around her. How this affects the final polling will be interesting to see. Rounding up the constituency is the sitting NCP MP Sanjay Dina Patil.

The report seems to indicate that the Mumbai electorate is more interested in the more local leaders. For example, Congress’ Eknath Gaikwad, the sitting MP for Mumbai South Central, has 16.3 per cent positive mentions, more than  Arvind Kejriwal, Narendra Modi and Sonia Gandhi. If this is indeed true, then the BJP might be in for a rude shock as they look to comprehensively wrap up the elections.

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