Survey Reveals 52% of Indians in the UK Have a Negative View of PM Modi

The British Indian community, with a population of 2 million in the United Kingdom, boasts robust family connections to India. However, there is a notable gap in understanding other dimensions of their ties to India, particularly concerning their political views, cultural engagement, and religious affiliations. GQR conducted an online survey among 500 self-identified British Indians from 20 December 2023 to 16 January 2024 to obtain insights on these aspects. 

Survey Methodology: Participants in the survey were self-selected through panel participation rather than being chosen through a probability sample. The collected data underwent statistical weighting to align with the regional distribution, age demographics, and gender composition representative of the British Indian community. Findings are presented in percentages; however, total percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding or the possibility of multiple responses.



  1. Narendra Modi’s Standing Among the British Indian Community

Overall, the survey findings revealed that a majority of respondents held an unfavourable opinion of Prime Minister Modi, with 52% expressing negative views compared to 35% who viewed him favourably.In the Hindu community, there are significant differences in opinions about Modi. Especially those born in the UK, women, people aged 18 to 49, English-speaking households, those less involved in politics, individuals with weaker community ties, and non-Hindu observers tend to view Modi less favourably.

  1. Understanding Developments in India:

Survey Highlights Religious Divide in Perceptions of India's Direction:

  • When asked about India's trajectory, 54% express concerns, with religious affiliation strongly influencing opinions.
  • 68% of Hindu respondents believe India is on the right track, contrasting sharply with 73% of non-Hindus and 81% of Muslims who disagree.

Treatment of Women and Girls Tops Concerns for British Indians

  • British Indian respondents identify various issues facing India, with the treatment of women and girls emerging as the most pressing concern.
  • Across all demographics, addressing this issue ranks highest among priorities for the Indian government.

Perceptions of Modi and Religious Tensions

  • Religious tensions and democratic restrictions weigh heavily among those unfavourable toward Modi, with 76% and 71% of respondents, respectively, deeming them very important.

Political Identification and Party Perceptions

  • Half the respondents do not align with an Indian political party, while the remaining half align mostly along religious lines.
  • Unfavourable Views on Congress and BJP: Both Congress Party and BJP are viewed unfavourably by British Indians, with 40% and 48% unfavourability. 

Hindu Support for BJP and Hindutva Rejection

  • Support for BJP: While 42% of Hindus favour the BJP, support declines among younger, British-born, female, and less educated Hindus.
  • Rejection of Hindutva Principles: Majority of Hindus, especially women, reject Hindutva principles. Majority reject the notion that India should be a Hindu country. 

Engagement with India and Modi's Handling

  • Concerns and Accountability: Concerns about religious violence, especially in the UK, are prominent, with over half of Hindus holding Modi accountable for related events.

Perceptions of Fair Treatment and Racism in the UK

  • Most British Indians feel fairly treated in the UK, with racism against them seen as a minor issue.

Political Affiliation and Perception of Parties and Leaders

  • Party Affiliation: 41% of respondents identify with the Labour party (29% are Hindus), while 29% align with the Conservative party (of which, 41% respondents are Hindu). 
  • The Labour Party is viewed favourably, while the Conservative Party is viewed unfavourably. Both Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak received negative ratings from respondents.

Views on UK-India Engagement

  • Many cannot rate Rishi Sunak’s handling of India, but high scores among pro-Modi Indians
  • There exists a disconnect between British Indian sentiments toward Modi and their perception of how the British government should engage with India. The survey reveals a split, with 42%-43% advocating for promoting democracy—emphasising economic ties while safeguarding and advancing democratic values in India—versus strengthening ties, focusing solely on economic cooperation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.

Attitudes Towards Hindutva Principles and Hindu Nationalism

  • Rejection of Hindutva: Majority of respondents, especially women, reject Hindutva principles, with negative perceptions of Hindu nationalism.
  • 50% of Hindu respondents said that they don’t identify with Hindutva, whilst 4% said they were unsure. However, when asked to define Hindutva and Hindu nationalism, most responses were negative (e.g., India as a Hindu state, extremist, discriminates against non-Hindus and a right-wing agenda).

Modi's Favorability 

  • A majority of respondents rated religious violence promoted by Modi, spilling over to the UK, as a top concern. This concern was highlighted by recent violence between Hindu and Muslim groups in Leicester. Other highly rated concerns included harassment of journalists, religious hate crimes, and the Gujarat Riots.
  • Finally, respondents commonly cited Modi being perceived as an extremist as the primary reason to pay more attention to India. However, Hindus remained primarily focused on economic matters amidst these concerns.

3.Connections with India and the UK

Relatively few British Indians follow events in India closely. When asked how often they read or watch the news in India:

  • More than once a week – 36%
  • Once a week – 22%
  • Once a month – 19%
  • Almost never – 23%

Many within the diaspora have become increasingly disconnected from events in India, as evidenced by the focus groups.While some cultural elements like attire, music, and cuisine still resonate with them, overall, these respondents lack in-depth knowledge of Indian affairs.

Survey Reveals 52% of Indians in the UK Have a Negative View of PM Modi
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