Prime Minister Narendra Modi's approval ratings fell to a new low, a survey showed on Tuesday, May 18, as India grapples with the devastating second wave of COVID-19.
Modi, after sweeping to power in 2014 and getting re-elected in 2019 with the biggest majority of any leader in three decades, has long maintained his image of a powerful nationalist leader, reported India Today.
However, India's COVID-19 caseload surged past 25 million this week, which exposed the country to a lack of preparation and diminishing Modi's support base, according to US data intelligence company Morning Consult's tracker of a dozen global leaders.
Modi's overall ratings this week stand at 63%, his lowest since the US firm began tracking his popularity in August 2019. The big decline happened in April when his net approval dropped 22 points.
That sharp decline came in the backdrop of the pandemic that overwhelmed large urban centres such as Delhi, where hospitals ran out of beds and life-saving oxygen and people died in parking lots, gasping for breath.
"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," said P Chidambaram, the Congress leader.
"In the battle against Covid-19, the state, especially the central government, has withered away," added Chidambaram.