Corruption and women’s safety — two topics that have always topped the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) agenda — do not figure among the main five issues for voters of the national capital, the party has found in a latest survey.
All along, even before it came into existence, corruption and women’s safety have been priority issues for AAP. Delhiites came out in large numbers during the nationwide campaign of India Against Corruption — out of which AAP was born — through 2011 and most of 2012.
In December 2012 and January 2013, even more people hit the streets to protest the December 16 gang rape incident. AAP was key part of the protests.
The AAP survey, made public on Friday, found that drinking water emerged as the top issue with 28% respondents voting for it.
Cleanliness at 18% came second while bad roads scored the third place with 11%, it said. Safety of women figured at the sixth position with just 4% Delhiites worrying about it while a mere 3% people said corruption was an issue.
Yogendra Yadav, AAP leader and known psephologist, along with Cicero Associates, a Delhi-based consultancy firm, carried out the survey between September 5 and October 5. The survey had 34,425 respondents from across 70 assembly constituencies.
The AAP has been banking heavily on its anti-corruption agitation, calling this election as a fight between honest and corrupt people. It promised a strong Janlokpal within 15 days if voted to power.
“These issues have emerged in response to our question ‘what are the local issues?’ … We had not given them any options to rate,” Yadav said.
The AAP chief said: “If the people feel roads are bad, it is a major issue for them. The very fact that our vote share is increasing indicates people are looking at us with hope that we will get rid of their problems.”
The survey claimed that AAP had cut into Congress strongholds of Muslim and Dalit votes. As many as 32% Dalits are supporting AAP, more than any other party while the Muslim vote share for AAP is 26%.
For a party that recently formed a Sikh cell, this community’s support stood at 27%, less than Congress’ 28% and BJP’s 36%.
The party claimed that it had received 33% support from upper caste and OBC voters each. The upper castes, including baniyas (traders), are traditionally considered BJP supporters.
Experts, however, downplayed both the BJP and AAP surveys.
Biswajeet Das, sociologist, Jamia Millia Islamia said: “These opinion polls and surveys have no credibility. The parties want to show whatever suits them. This is only opinion build-up exercise.”
Ravi Ranjan, fellow, Developing Countries Research Centre, Delhi University, agreed: “These surveys don’t address the crisis of representation. The parties that release such data are not able to understand the essence of democracy.”