Is Team Anna's popularity shrinking? Not at all!
After the so called flop show in Mumbai, if one thought that the Anna movement was on the wane, one needs to be careful. In fact Anna Hazare remains top recall in people's mind and irrespective of what happened in Mumbai, they still believe the Gandhian is right and his Lokpal will successfully combat corruption.
Even as Anna's Mumbai show was collapsing, this surprising result was thrown up in a 28-city survey conducted by STAR News-Nielsen after the Lokpal Bill was passed in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha failed to do so recently.
The survey was conducted in 28 cities across the country with a sample size of 8,902 respondents. The complete field work was carried out in the period between December 30, 2011, and January 2.
Please click NEXT to read further...
Image: A supporter of Anna Hazare gestures at the venue of his three-day fast at the Bandra-Kurla Complex grounds in Mumbai
92 per cent respondents were aware of Anna Hazare's strike in Mumbai
In the survey, on being asked if support for Team Anna has declined in the recent weeks, a majority 52 per cent of the respondents felt that it hasn't.
Only 42 per cent felt that there was a decline in Team Anna's support. A whopping 92 per cent of the respondents were aware of the Anna Hazare's hunger strike in Mumbai.
For the Lokpal Bill getting stalled in Rajya Sabha, 43 per cent respondents blamed all the political parties for putting the bill on hold while 30 per cent blamed only the Congress for the bill not getting through.
Respondents were asked to share their views on the rigidity or flexibility of Team Anna. 59 per cent of respondents felt that Team Anna should be rigid. Only 36 per cent respondents felt that Team Anna should be a little flexible and should have entered into a dialogue with the government.
On being asked about Anna's threat of fast-unto-death, 71 per cent respondents supported Anna for fast until death if his demands for changes in Lokpal Bill were not met by the government.
Image: Anna Hazare with Kiran Bedi wave from a vehicle during a rally in Mumbai
61 per cent feel government's Lokpal will curb corruption
But a majority of the respondents felt that the government's Lokpal was also good. On the overall basis; 61 per cent respondents were hopeful about the bill and believed that it would become an effective law to control corruption.
When asked about the role of political parties in passing the Lokpal Bill, there was a mixed opinion amongst individuals.
While 48 per cent of respondents felt that political parties have helped, 43 per cent of respondents felt the opposite.
Respondents were highly critical of the political parties when it came to corruption. 67 per cent of the respondents held all the political parties equally responsible for the corruption in the nation. Despite Team Anna's seemingly anti-Congress stand, only 28 per cent blamed the Congress party for corruption.
Image: A supporter of social activist Hazare wears a cap lined with fake currency notes while attending a public meeting in Chennai
58 per cent not in favour of Rahul taking over as PM
On Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, majority respondents believed it was not the right time for him to takeover as the prime minister. When asked about the suitability of Rahul Gandhi as a prime ministerial candidate, 58 per cent respondents believed it was not the right time for him to take over.
However, in a similar survey conducted in August, 2011, 39 per cent were of the opinion that Rahul Gandhi should take over as PM, but now only 35 per cent felt the same, which showed a dip of 4 per cent.
A majority 56 per cent respondents blamed the Congress for handling the recent Anna Hazare strike poorly and 57 per cent felt it was not PM Manmohan Singh, but his senior ministers who goofed up.
Interestingly, Bharatiya Janata Party emerged as the top choice with 31 per cent saying they would vote for the party while only 21 per cent said they will vote for the Congress.
Image: File picture of Rahul Gandhi with PM Singh in New Delhi
62 per cent feel Kejriwal is the new youth icon of India
Meanwhile, 54 per cent respondents felt that even Congress chief Sonia Gandhi wouldn't have handled the situation better. At an overall level, more than half (54 per cent) respondents said that the situation was poorly handled by the Congress.
58 per cent of the respondents claimed that they will vote for prominent Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal and about 24 per cent for Home Minister P Chidambaram.
Very interestingly, 62 per cent of the respondents felt that Kejriwal has emerged as the new youth icon in India. He had significantly higher ratings in northern parts of the country (71 per cent).
Similarly, 74 per cent of respondents felt that given a chance, they will vote for IPS officer-turned-Team Anna member Kiran Bedi over Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal (only 14 per cent).