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No faith in parties, leaders

One out of every 3 Delhiites has absolutely no faith in politicians and parties. Only 1 in 10 voters says he trusts netas; the parties are even less popular.

india Updated: Nov 08, 2003 12:21 IST
CSDS/HTC

The stock of politicians and political parties is generally thought to be low with the people of India. Yet, in a democracy, the people only get the leaders they choose. So, does the people’s unhappiness with their leaders suggest an unhappiness with the democratic form of government itself?

The HT-CSDS Delhi Survey 2003 put these questions to the Capital’s voters. Their answers confirmed the results of two earlier surveys carried out by CSDS at an all-India level in 1996 and 1998.

One out of every three Delhiites has absolutely no faith in politicians and political parties. Only 1 in 10 voters says he trusts netas; the parties are even less popular.

Yet, an overwhelming 75 per cent of Delhiites feel democracy is the best form of government. A tiny 4 per cent want dictatorship; 6 per cent think there’s no difference between the two. Fifteen per cent of Delhiites have no opinion on the matter.

Delhi perhaps has more confidence in democracy than some other parts of the country. During a national survey conducted by CSDS before the Lok Sabha election of 1998, 60 per cent of respondents had said they thought it was the best form of government; 6 per cent had favoured dictatorship.

The negative opinion of politicians cuts across all sections of society in Delhi, and is shared in nearly equal proportions by both the city’s rich and poor people. Thirty-one per cent among the rich and the educated, and 30 per cent among the poor and the uneducated have no faith in them.

The distrust of political parties, however, goes up with the economic status of the voter: 37 per cent of the rich feel the parties are fully corrupt; 33 per cent of the middle class feel the same. The figure for the poor is 31 per cent, and that for the uneducated, 29 per cent.

Interestingly, the media does not seem to be playing a decisive role in moulding the people’s opinion on this issue. Thirty-one per cent of people with no media exposure say they do not at all trust politicians; the figure is marginally less (30 per cent) among those with a high media exposure.

In the case of politicians, the difference is slightly more: 32 per cent (among the people with no media exposure) and 28 per cent (among the people with a high degree of media exposure).

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