India is reeling from the second wave of Covid-19, and Prime Minister Modi's popularity is plummeting.
According to a recent survey of urban Indians, public confidence in the government's handling of the crisis has plummeted since the second wave began in February.
NEW DELHI: As the country struggles to contain the devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's approval ratings have dropped to a new low, according to a survey released on Tuesday.
Modi has cultivated the picture of a dominant nationalist leader after sweeping to power in 2014 and being re-elected in 2019 with the largest majority of any Indian leader in three decades.
According to a tracker of a dozen global leaders maintained by US data intelligence firm Morning Consult, India's Covid-19 caseload surpassed 25 million this week, revealing a lack of planning and eroding Modi's support base.
Modi's overall approval rating is at 63 percent this week, the lowest since the US firm began monitoring his popularity in August of this year. His net approval fell 22 points in April, which was a significant decrease.
The dramatic drop occurred as the pandemic appeared to be crippling major urban centres such as Delhi, where hospitals ran out of beds and life-saving oxygen, and people died gasping for air in parking lots.
Bodies stacked up in morgues and crematoriums, and outrage over the misery and alleged lack of government help grew on social media.
Although the situation has improved in Delhi and Mumbai as the number of cases has decreased, the virus has spread across India's vast hinterland, where public health facilities are lacking.
"The people of India — or at least the vast majority — have come to the conclusion that they have to rely only on themselves, and their families and friends, to protect their lives," P Chidambaram, a member of the Opposition, said as much.
"In the battle against Covid-19, the state, especially the central government has withered away," he said.
Modi's government has stated that it is doing everything possible to combat the "coronavirus storm" which it has described as a once-in-a-generation crisis.
According to a poll conducted this month among urban Indians by polling agency YouGov, public trust in the government's handling of the crisis has plummeted since the second wave began in February.
Just 59 percent of respondents thought the government was handling the crisis "very" or "somewhat" well at the end of April, down from 89 percent a year earlier during the first wave.
Modi does not face a national election until 2024, and amid the opposition's criticism, political analysts say the opposition has yet to mount a serious challenge to his authority.