India's United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is more unpopular than ever, according to a new opinion poll conducted by India Today magazine.
The Mood of the Nation poll suggests that if an election were held today, the alliance-leading Congress Party of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would only garner a measly 110 parliamentary seats -- the lowest total ever for India's oldest political party. That's a serious plunge from the 206 seats won in 2009.
"The steady decline in popular support for [the] Congress has suddenly cascaded into a collapse. Until August 2010, the UPA's support remained at the level of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. The Mood of the Nation Poll in August 2010 showed the UPA's vote percentage at 34.6 percent, just marginally lower than the 35.7 percent it recorded in the 2009 general election.... According to our latest forecast, if Lok Sabha elections were to be held today, the UPA would get between 168 and 178 seats."
Meanwhile, its perennial rival, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, would increase its tally to 140 from the 116 seats it won in the last vote. And parties that were allied neither with the UPA nor the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would account for 180-190 seats with a whopping 44 percent of the popular vote.
According to India Today, that means: "In a nutshell, the next Parliament could see a prime minister from neither the Congress nor the BJP."