India state polls test PM Modi's popularity after demonetisation chaos

With a series of key state elections in Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Punjab and Uttarakhand, PM Modi�s popularity and his surprise move to demonetise 86% of the currency which caused great chaos - is now being tested.

India state polls test PM Modi

With a series of key state elections in Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Punjab and Uttarakhand, PM Modi’s popularity and his surprise move to demonetise 86% of the currency which caused great chaos - is now being tested.

Indian economy has still not recovered from the damage that demonetisation caused. Modi and BJP hailed the move as a way to curb tax fraud and corruption and push India toward more digital spending. Opponents say it was a self-inflicted blow on the world's fastest-growing economy, causing enormous hardship for the vast majority of Indians, who often rely completely on cash.


The loss in the assembly poll would be seen as a serious blow to Modi’s political image. Especially in politically crucial state like UP defeat of BJP would be a huge setback, both for the party and for Modi. It would destroy the myth of Modi, who has been projected as this political juggernaut of invincible proportions.

On Saturday Punjab and Goa went for election and around 83% of the state's eligible voters had cast ballots. In Goa, more than 83 percent voters had cast their vote.

In the next phase of the election, the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand votes on Feb. 15, and remote northeastern Manipur votes on March 4 and 8.

Elections in Uttar Pradesh begin on Feb. 11, but because of the state's size, voting is divided into seven phases. Results from all the elections will be declared on March 11.

BJP will face a tough fight in Uttar Pradesh, with Akhilesh Yadav, in a political alliance with the Congress Party, led by Rahul Gandhi. The alliance is seen as a way to boost the chances of Yadav's Samajwadi Party while the Congress Party tries to remain relevant in a politically key state.

The state elections are also significant for their power to help elect a new president. The current president is Pranab Mukherjee, a Congress Party stalwart whose term ends in July. Presidents are elected by a combination of national and state lawmakers. For Modi to bring in his own president, he needs to win Uttar Pradesh and at least one other state.