Stung by the rising levels of dissatisfaction over the country's economic and political situation, a majority of Indians are looking for a change in political leadership in the upcoming polls, according to the latest new report of the U.S. think tank Pew Research Center.
Unveiling the findings of the study at an Ananta Centre session here today, Bruce Stokes, Director, Global Economic Attitudes, Pew Research Center, said, "Nearly 70 per cent of the Indians surveyed have expressed dissatisfaction with the way things are going in the country at present, and this discontent is shared across the political spectrum. An overwhelming majority identified inflation, joblessness and inequality as the key challenges facing the country."
"Looking ahead, by more than three-to-one, Indians prefer the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), not the Indian National Congress (Congress) party, to lead the next government," Stokes added.
On the foreign policy front, more Indians expressed a favourable view of the U.S., notwithstanding recent high-profile bilateral friction. Interestingly, the study found division in public opinion about China, with more Indians favouring strong ties with Washington than to support improved relations with Beijing.
"When asked which poses the greatest threat to the country - a 47 percent-plurality chose Pakistan. About one-in-five identified the Islamic extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba or the Maoist Naxalites as the greatest threat. Overall, just 19 per cent of Indians expressed a positive view of Pakistan. Six-in-ten were worried that extremist groups could take control of their long-running rival. Still, a majority would like to see improved relations, and more than half support more trade and more talks between the two nations," said Stokes.
The survey, titled "On Election Eve: Indians reflect on the nation and the world," looked at Indian views towards the economy, their personal finances, the future of the economy and their children's future, the problems facing India at home and abroad and the Indian public's views of the U.S., China, Pakistan and other countries.
The study was conducted between December 7, 2013, and January 12, 2014, among 2,464 adults in states and territories home to roughly 91 per cent of the Indian population. (ANI)