It can be safely said that Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi were not the sole distinguishing factor between the Aam Aadmi Party and BJP. While the individual personality of these leaders did matter for the electorate, what also mattered was the distinct set of issues and promises that the two leaders and their parties were standing for. While the BJP’s campaign theme focused largely on the achievements of the central government and Modi’s promise of making Delhi a world-class city, it was the Aam Aadmi Party that raised specific issues like bijli-paani and micro-level corruption while concentrating on local matters.
Evidence gathered from the post-poll survey conducted by CSDS shows that there were multiple issues which were playing in the minds of the voters in this election.
Despite the Modi government’s claims of having reduced prices of daily-use commodities in the last few months, 17 per cent of the voters considered it the most important election issue. The drastic reduction in fuel prices might or might not have led to a trickle-down effect, but the voters were clearly not impressed. More than half the respondents felt that prices of food items had increased in the last few months.
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Corruption was the most important issue for 17 per cent of the voters. In the open-ended question, 15 per cent of the respondents clearly mentioned cheaper and better bijli-paani as the most important election issue. Development or simply “vikas” was an issue for a relatively lower proportion of the electorate as compared to other recent assembly elections. This does not indicate lowering importance of development but should be simply seen as the Delhi voter expressing a desire for development in specific terms (when he/she says “bijli-paani”) rather than a subjective idea (when he/she says “vikas”).
Women’s security was the most important issue for 8 per cent of the voters. This is marginally higher than the response received for a similar question in earlier surveys conducted by CSDS.
The sentiment for cheaper electricity and water in some ways affirms how the AAP was successful in setting the agenda this election. In a comparison between Kejriwal and Bedi on important issues, the former was much ahead of the latter on all issues except women’s security. It is evident that a large proportion of AAP supporters too thought that Bedi was more suitable for ensuring women’s security.
By: Anuradha Singh
Anuradha Singh is associated with Lokniti, CSDS