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Kaun banega PM?

April 27, 2009

Matthew Schneeberger spoke to a cross-section of voters in Karnataka, both from the rural as well as the urban pockets of the state, to find out which leader they would trust to lead the nation, and their expectations from the next government at the Centre.

All politics is local.

Or so goes the maxim, famously uttered by Tip O'Neil, former speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

But in Karnataka, even in the villages, voters are thinking nationally. And from Bellary to Bangalore, and all the places in between, the state's opinion resounds in its clarity: It's time for a change. Current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has to go.

Of course, there are some Congress supporters who maintain that the United Progressive Alliance government should stay in power. They cite India's robust GDP growth between 2004 and 2008, an increased prominence in the international community and the UPA's commitment to secular politics and governance.

But ultimately this is Bharatiya Janata Party territory -- the saffron party's southern bastion. And, overwhelmingly, the consensus is that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance should rise to power and choose a new national leader for India.

"The UPA is just a big, big disappointment," says Bangalore North resident Ravi Kumar, before rattling off a list of grievances: Inflationary and price rise concerns, national security and terrorism worries, long-standing infrastructure problems and the current economic malaise.

Image: The main contenders for the prime minister's office, as seen by Uttam Ghosh.

Also see: 'We were promised 70 lakhs, not a penny has come' | India Votes 2009