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Behind verdict: ‘Most voters want same party in Centre and state’

In both Haryana and Maharashtra, survey shows, leadership, chief ministerial candidate, was not important for voters.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
October 21, 2014 2:08:09 am

Nearly three out of every five voters in both Maharashtra and Haryana felt having the same party in power both in Delhi and at the state capital would help in all-round development of the state, a post-poll survey by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) has shown, adding a significant new dimension to the understanding of voting behaviour in assembly elections.

In both Haryana and Maharashtra, the survey shows, leadership, or the question of a chief ministerial candidate, was not important for voters.

Well over a third of all respondents in Haryana took no name when asked an open question on their preferred CM. In Maharashtra, the proportion was larger: 43 per cent.

Among the 36 per cent in Haryana who did not name an individual of choice to lead the government, 41 per cent voted BJP, while in Maharashtra, 31 per cent of this seemingly uninterested group of voters chose BJP. The BJP did not announce CM candidates in the two states.

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Asked if they agreed that for “all-round development, the ruling party at the Centre and the same should be the same, 41 per cent of respondents in Maharashtra said they “agreed fully”, and 18 per cent “agreed somewhat”.

Corresponding figures in Haryana were 44 per cent and 13 per cent. The sentiment was stronger among those who voted BJP — 53 per cent agreed fully; 11 per cent somewhat.

In Haryana, the BJP’s spectacular victory owed significantly to a last-minute vote of confidence from electors, the survey, carried out by Lokniti, the research programme of CSDS, shows.

As many as 49 per cent of BJP voters made their decision either close to election day — October 15 — or during the campaign, suggesting strongly that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign blitz in the state, during which he addressed 10 rallies in as many days, including three on the last day — October 13 — had boosted the BJP.

The support of the Dera Sacha Sauda, which the BJP obtained on October 13, is likely to have contributed to the late movement of votes to the party. A significant 22 per cent of Dalit voters — a group among which the Dera has a large following — made their decision either on voting day or on the eve of polling.

This makes greater sense in the light of findings of the survey that only about 37 per cent each of Congress and INLD voters made their decision close to election day, and that 3 out of every 5 Jat voters had made up their minds even before the campaign started.

The BJP received the smallest share of the Jat vote: only 17 per cent as compared to the 42 per cent that went to the INLD, 24 per cent to the Congress, and 27 per cent to others.

Corruption was an issue in both states, according to the results of the survey. Seventy-three per cent respondents in Maharashtra said the Congress-NCP government was either very corrupt or somewhat corrupt. The corresponding figure in Haryana was 70 per cent.

Significantly, however, in both states, the proportion of respondents who perceived the government to be very corrupt fell from around one half in January to a little over a third in October. And, in Haryana, where the alleged favours granted by the Hooda government to Robert Vadra occupied much news space, nearly two-thirds of all respondents said they had not heard about the allegations.

The survey, the results of which have been published exclusively in this edition of The Indian Express, was carried out among 1,542 respondents in 35 assembly constituencies in Maharashtra, and among 1,462 respondents in 25 constituencies in Haryana.

In Haryana, the survey also included questions that sought to gauge the nature and depth of social conservatism in the state. Nearly 9 out of 10 respondents said they were opposed to marriage in the same gotra, and 84 per cent said they were opposed to marriage in the same village. Seven out of 10 disapproved of women wearing jeans, and 51 per cent supported khap panchayats.

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