A survey of voters spread across all 21 Parliamentary constituencies in Odisha has rated the performance of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government as below average on key voting priorities ahead of 2019 elections.
The surveyed electorate identified drinking water, better employment opportunities and better roads as their top three priority areas. In all the three parameters, the performance of the incumbent state government is appraised as underwhelming.
Premised on the survey findings, the Odisha focused report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has rated the performance of the government on drinking water (2.30 on a scale of 5), better employment opportunities (2.30) and better roads (2.28). Also, the government’s track record on rural voters’ priorities was below mediocre in water for agriculture (2.48 on a people of 5), drinking water (2.32) and better employment opportunities (2.27).
In addition, the government’s performance has been lackadaisical in providing in better hospitals or primary healthcare (2.14), better roads (2.32) and electricity for agriculture (2.45) in rural Odisha.
A BJD spokesperson could not be immediately contacted for comments.
The nationwide voter centric survey was conducted by ADR and RA Arterisc Computing & Data Solutions Pvt Ltd. The Odisha focused survey provides an analysis of the 15 most governance issues raised by the voters in the state. The exercise covered 10,500 respondents from the 21 Lok Sabha constituencies.
“The key objective of this perception assessment is to provide an improved understanding of the important expectations of voters from the Government and how they assess its performance. In addition, it seeks to fill a vital gap in contemporary times, namely, evidence-based research and action on governance. For far too long we have depended entirely on ideology or the opinions of various experts. Though that is important, we also need to reflect on the priorities of the voters. These priorities and assessments will change over time, and hence there is a need to repeat this survey periodically”, the ADR report observed.
The survey tried to analyze the aspects with respect to voting behaviour- factors influencing voting behaviour, opinion regarding criminal candidates contesting in elections, and voter awareness regarding the role of crime and money.
According to the Odisha focused survey, the largest percentage of voters felt the candidate was the most important factor to sway votes followed by the party he espoused and the projection of the chief ministerial candidate. For 15 per cent of the voters, distribution of cash, liquor and gifts was a crucial factor to cast vote for a particular candidate. Fifty per cent of the voters were aware of inducements offered in lieu of votes.
The surveyed voters balked at the prospects of candidates with criminal antecedents. Ninety eight per cent of the surveyed voters felt that candidates with tainted criminal records should not get elected to the Parliament or the state assembly.
Seventy eight (78) per cent of the surveyed voters were from rural areas and 22 per cent from the urban areas.