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76% vote for Modi as PM: Survey

76% vote for Modi  as PM: Survey
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Who will be India's next prime minister? The general elections are a year away but the race for 7 Race Course is already hotting up. The battle for...

Who will be India's next prime minister? The general elections are a year away but the race for 7 Race Course is already hotting up. The battle for 2014 is going to be an intense one and the stage is being set for a probable face off between Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Can Prime Minister Manmohan Singh be ruled out for the third term? Clearly not! Not ruling in or out, said Dr Singh recently when posed a question recently about the general elections.

The 2014 general election is going be an open contest. Rediff.com drew up a list of probable candidates who could occupy the top post. Over the past seven days, 64,275 readers cast their votes (figures as on 11 am on Monday, April 15) and here's their verdict....

With 49,073 out of the 64,275 votes (76%) going to Modi, he is a clear favourite as a probable prime ministerial candidate. That is a whopping 76 per cent votes. The Gujarat CM's emergence on national politics seems to be working in his favour. He has won three state elections in a row, making himself a top contender to be India's prime minister.

The second choice is the Congress party's 'yuvraj'. With a mere 3,577 votes going for Rahul, the Congress may have more than one reason to worry. If rediff readers are to be believed, the Nehru-Gandhi scion is clearly no match to the fiery Gujarat CM with only five per cent opting for the former.A Dr Manmohan Singh has kept the third term option open and with 3,041 votes he is just a few hundreds behind Rahul. From 2G to coal-gate, scams after scams have haunted the United Progressive Alliance II rule and the PM's 'Mr. Clean' image has taken a battering.

What are the party's choices then? With Dr Singh's integrity being questioned, Finance Minister P Chidambaram may be a fine choice. His stature in the party is growing and he has repeatedly proved his competence. But the big question remains -- does he have a mass appeal? In the rediff ballot, only 1,955 of the 64,275 voted for the FM that's a mere 3 per cent.

With Modi's rising popularity he appears to be Bharatiya Janata Party's No 1 choice for the next PM candidate. So is veteran leader L K Advani forgotten? Rediff readers also think that Advani is not fit for the top post. The BJP patriarch has secured 1,504 votes.

Janata Dal-United's Nitish Kumar is the biggest opponent to Modi being declared as BJP's PM candidate, but at the same time he has ruled himself out of the race. He does not seem to be a popular choice with the public as well. With 1,359 votes he ranks sixth on the list of probable PM candidates. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa too harbours national ambitions. She appears seventh on the list of probable PM candidates in the poll with 1312 votes.

In the BJP, which probably faces the problem of plenty when it comes to the choice of possible PM candidates, Sushma Swaraj is another name that crops up. Last September, late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray had backed her for the post. But, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha has secured only 1,032 of the total 64,275 votes in the rediff.com ballot.

Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has expressed his stance for a non-BJP, non-Congress government at the Centre through the formation of a Third Front government. But he secured a mere 477 votes. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee too has displayed national ambition. She secured just 344 votes.

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati too has prime ministerial ambitions and though she feels that the anti-incumbency factor will work for her, the public has faith in her. In fact, Behenji has secured fewer votes than Mulayam -- 324. With only 240 out of the 64,275, Sharad Pawar appears last on the list.

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