Cornered by PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah’s relentless electoral conquests across India, a desperate Opposition has turned to the idea of ‘Mahagathbandhan’, or a grand alliance, for 2019 elections.

Only, most Indians do not seem convinced, shows a nationwide survey conducted by Jan Ki Baat — who got most recent election predictions right, including Gujarat and Karnataka — for My Nation.

A decisive 65% gave are not in favour of this grand alliance, while 35% are.

 Can the alliance oust Modi?

This was the big question. In all, 47.72% believe it will challenge Modi but can’t oust him. Interestingly, 28.18% believe it will only make Modi stronger. So, 75.9% of those polled said that a Mahagathbandhan would not be able to defeat the PM. Only 24.54% felt it could.

If it does, will it last?

If the grand alliance of virtually the entire Opposition forms the government, would it be able to last a full term? Again, 79% said it would not, whereas 21% believe it would complete five years.

 PM face from challengers?

If an alliance — with its strong and immensely complex cross-currents of caste and region — fights the elections together, it may need a PM face. Who would that be?

Here, the survey clearly throws up Congress President Rahul Gandhi as the popular choice nationwide. He is head and shoulders above others with 47% votes in this poll. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is a distant second with 12% votes. The face of Dalit politics, Mayawati, got 9.6%, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal 4.54%, and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh got 4%. Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tejaswi Yadav got a meagre 1.81% people rooting for him as the PM face. Interestingly, a sizeable 21.05% people couldn’t make up their mind on whom to choose.

What should worry BJP  

The highest acceptability of the Mahagathbandhan is in the two biggest states in the heartland, UP and Bihar. Nearly 50% in UP view it as a major force and are not averse to it. In Bihar, it is 47%. Even in Bengal, which has never seen a BJP government, the acceptance of the alliance is much lower at 39%.

 Cong as big brother

It’s no secret that Rahul Gandhi wants to see Congress lead the pack. In the run up to the Karnataka election, Rahul, for the first time, said he was ready to be the PM face. In the survey, 59.54% believe that the Grand Old Party will indeed play the anchor’s role. But what should trouble Congress is a decent 40.54% think Congress won’t be able to play the big brother.

 What's the glue?

The only binding force behind the possible alliance is a surging urgency to stop Modi, believe 72.27% of those surveyed. Else, why would sworn enemies SP and BSP, for instance, come together in UP? Modi himself has said this many times and is trying to make this his strength. In all, 17.72 % say policies are not reaching the ground.