Data Reveals Unpopularity of 4 Sacked CMs. Spoiler: There's a Clue on Who's Next

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Four chief ministers have been replaced in the past four months across the country, three from the BJP and one from the Congress.

  • July: BJP CM in Uttarakhand Tirath Singh Rawat was replaced by Pushkar Dhami. Tirath Rawat himself had taken over as CM only in March, replacing Trivendra Singh Rawat.

  • August: BS Yediyurappa gave way to Basavaraj Bommai in Karnataka after being eased out by the BJP high command.

  • September: BJP replaced Vijay Rupani with Bhupendra Patel as the CM of Gujarat

  • September: Congress replaced Captain Amarinder Singh with Charanjit Singh Channi in Punjab.

"Four out of the bottom five are already gone," says Yashwant Deshmukh, founder of CVoter.

According to Deshmukh, it is a good thing that parties are responding to data-based feedback from the ground.

"It's clear that parties were guided by survey-based feedback when they decided to replace these four chief ministers. This is a good development I feel," he said.

Here are the satisfaction rating graphs released by CVoter for each of these states.





Punjab, Uttarakhand and Karnataka and relatively straightforward cases where the percentage of people dissatisfied with the state government is much higher than those who are "very much satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied".

Gujarat, however, seems to be a slightly more complex case. No doubt, the dissatisfaction against Rupani was high in May, just after the second COVID-19 wave. But it improved June onwards. Yet despite this, Rupani was removed. Despite the improvement, the percentage of people dissatisfied was still at 30 percent, which is not a small number.

Perhaps the BJP high command may have calculated that this would only increase in the months to come.


The Karnataka and Uttarakhand graphs reveal another pattern.

Uttarakhand: The first change - from Trivendra Rawat to Tirath Singh - doesn't seem to have worked as the percentage of people dissatisfied only increased during the latter's tenure from March to June. However, towards the end of July, matters seem to have improved following the appointment of Pushkar Dhami as the CM. Mid August onwards, the percentate of people saying they are "very much satisfied" has also increased, indicating that the BJP's gamble has paid off.

Karnataka: In Karnataka, while the negative sentiment has fallen, there's been no significant increase in those feeling "satisfied". Instead, there has been a massive increase of respondents saying "don't know/can't say".

It's probably too early to say whether replacing CMs has helped the BJP in Gujarat and Congress in Punjab.

Date released by Prashnam reveals that Rupani is still ahead of president CM Bhupendra Patel in the overall CM preference. Even among Patidars, 38 percent picked "None of the Above" among the CM choices within BJP as opposed to 26 percent for Bhupendra Patel.

In Punjab however, Prashnam's data says that 63 percent approve of the change of guard. The new CM Charanjit Channi is already ahead of Captain in the CM preference question though he's still behind Navjot Sidhu.


One CM with consistently low popularity ratings who is yet to be removed is Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar.

According to CVoter's tracker in July, Khattar was the second least popular CM at a net satisfaction rating of 8.2. Only the then Uttarakhand CM fared worse. A few above Khattar have already been punished - besides the four mentioned above, there was another such CM - E Palanisamy in Tamil Nadu who was voted out in the Assembly elections earlier this year.

According to the CVoter's tracker in September, the percentage of people dissatisfied with Khattar is a little less than 50 percent. While those saying they are "very much satisfied" is at around 30 percent.

It's clear that the farmers' protest has harmed Khattar's popularity significantly.

It must be remembered that both Rupani and Yediyurappa were removed despite having better ratings than Khattar.

It may only be a matter of time before the BJP leadership decides to replace him.

Khattar's only USP seems to be the BJP's non-Jat politics in the state. But after seven years in office, the fear of Jat domination among non-Jats won't be sufficient for Khattar.

It won't be surprising if the BJP decides to replace him with another leader. The only question is when.

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