Amid COVID crisis, Modi climbs up in popularity chart
The COVID -19 pandemic has thrown a unique opportunity for political leaders across countries to lead their nation from the front. Leadership in this time of crisis has been of planning, assessing, looking at the future, thinking out of the box, reach out to those who are vulnerable, reaching out to their counterparts in other countries, and more.
Thanks to social media, all leaders have scrutinized how they have performed to combat the deadly coronavirus. Many leaders were caught unaware of the impending danger of the disease or underestimating this crisis.
While leaders of South Korea, Taiwan, Canada, New Zealand has been applauded for tackling the disease, many have drawn flak for not planning for the worst-case scenario.
Then, for leaders, fighting is not just about combating COVID; it is also about rescuing their economies, as most are in critical shape due to the months long lockdown.
According to the New York Times, the elected leader of world’s second most popular country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has emerged as hugely popular during this crisis.
Modi’s popularity has soared higher touching approval ratings of above 80%. The US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in comparison, are not faring too well in the popularity chart.
Modi has managed the coronavirus crisis “relatively well,” and that is visible in the opinion polls. The Indian Prime Minister imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in India since March 2020 to control the spread of the viral disease.
Before the disease started to grip the nation, Modi was facing a huge challenge due to a slowing economy and CAA, NPR – related protest since December last year.
If he can tide over this crisis, he is likely to strengthen his position in the country, further, analysts believe.
While he may have been partially successful in dealing with COVID, but the images of distraught migrants traveling from one part of the country to another in uncertainty has drawn much flak from internal observers and his opposition.
The next humongous challenge for the popular leader would be not just to rehabilitate these uprooted migrants, but also to resuscitate the economy, which is quickly sliding into a severe contraction. The lockdown has not just displaced labourers; hundreds of Indians have lost jobs in urban India. Supply chain disruption has been critical. Major urban centres remain locked down due to spiraling cases of COVID. Although the government has announced of series of relief measures as immediate and long term help to revive the economy. The challenge for Modi would be how he decides his future course of action, his approach towards economic reforms, his image abroad, his stand on minorities, and his ability to mobilize people to come together and act.