What sways a voter in Bihar? Survey says it’s jobs, water
Caste remains an integral part of Bihar politics and all the parties try to fix the equations and tailor their political positioning to caste matrix in their attempt to win seats.
But for voters both in rural and urban areas, issues of governance remain at the core of their political viewpoint, according to a survey done by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) in all the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies of the State, which covered 20,000 people.
If the survey findings truly reflect people’s mood, majority of voters of Bihar don’t seem happy with the state government at this stage and have given it slightly below average rating on important governance issues concerning their daily life. However, they said they would give maximum weightage to the chief ministerial nominee while voting for any candidate.
Rajeev Kumar of ADR said people were for issues concerning masses to be taken up in elections, which was not happening and that is why there was disenchantment with the kind of politics that was taking place. “People want their basic issues to be addressed, but the parties feel that would not fetch votes, which is a wrong notion,” he added.
Around 86% of the voters said it was their decision who to vote, while only 1% said they were swayed by caste/community leaders or colleagues.
Around 16% were aware of lure of money and liquor being used to draw votes. Majority of the voters (98%) said there should not be candidates with criminal antecedents in the fray, while only 22% were aware of crime records of candidates and another 37% said they voted for such candidates as they did not have knowledge about their criminal background.
A significant number (35%) of candidates said they voted for such candidates just because they felt that the candidates otherwise worked well. Besides, many felt that use of money power and less serious cases also worked in favour of such candidates.
Of the 31 issues listed in the survey, the voters prioritized 10 most important of them. At the top of the voters’ priority, which nearly 50% of the surveyed voters cited, is better employment opportunities, followed by water availability of agriculture (41.34%) and better hospital and primary health centres (39.09%). On all the three parameters, the Bihar voters rated the government below average.
In the rural areas, the voters gave more weightage of job opportunities. Even on agriculture loan availability, minimum support price (MSP) and electricity supply for agriculture, the voters gave below average rating to the government.
In the urban areas, drinking water was another major concern for the people, as was law and order, ranked fourth in the priority list. However, in rural areas, law and order fell to eighth on the priority list.
Jobs top on mind
Survey finds basic amenities still most important factors for voters
Voters’ priorities (urban areas)
47% Job opportunities
46% Drinking water
40% Law and order
37% Traffic congestion
Voters’ priorities (rural areas)
50% Job opportunities
48% Water for agriculture
47% Agriculture loan
38% Electricity for agriculture
Source: Association of Democratic Reforms
Why people vote for candidates with criminal antecedents
35% Serious cases not against them
35% candidates are very powerful
35% growing use of money power
98% Such candidates should not be fielded
73% CM nominee determines voting