As India gears up for parliamentary elections this summer, the message from voters in its biggest metropolis is clear: People want young, personable, and dynamic Members of Parliament (MPs) and they are very worried about the economy.
A survey conducted by C Fore for Hindustan Times asked voters to rate their sitting MPs in the six Mumbai constituencies and Thane-Navi Mumbai and their verdict was unambiguous. The topper Priya Dutt is just 43 and the next two are even younger — Milind Deora (33) and Anand Paranjape (36).
Dutt, who represents the Mumbai North West constituency, scored 6.08 on a scale of 10. Mumbai South MP Milind Deora got 5.73 and Thane MP Anand Paranjape scored 5.58.
“The findings are broad indicators of people’s preferences. They clearly indicate that there is a need for youths to get into politics,” said B Venkatesh Kumar, political analyst. In an election where there will be 43 million first-time voters, the preference for young candidates can get more pronounced.
Actor Govinda came in last on the list but there is hope for the Congress — 80 per cent of respondents in his constituency, Mumbai North, said they voted for the party more than the candidate. This trend held true across constituencies, though the proportion was not so skewed.
And despite 26/11, the faltering economy was a bigger concern than security — 35 per cent of the respondents said the most important issue for them was the downturn; 31 per cent said security was their main concern.
“With India staring at… job losses and salary cuts, the economy will be the most important issue,” said Venkatesh Kumar.
The voters also want MPs to address local issues along with carrying out their duties as lawmakers. Forty-five per cent of the respondents said they would like to re-elect the sitting MPs, while 37 per cent said they would not.