Improving the supply and quality of water is by far the most important issue on the minds of voters in Karnataka, which goes to polls on May 12, revealed a survey.
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Karnataka has long been at loggerheads with its neighbours Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh on the issue of water sharing. The state experienced severe water shortage last summer.
Karnataka voters in rural areas and urban areas ranked the issue of water at 8.06 out and 8.02 out of a scale of 10, respectively, in a survey by advocacy group Association of Democratic Reforms and civil society association Daksh. Better schools and better electricity supply came next in the list of important issues.
The Siddaramaiah-led Congress government is engaged in a fierce contest with the ruling BJP at the Centre to retain the state. Karnataka remains one of the last bastions of the Congress.
On performance, Karnataka voters rated the government above 7.5 out of 10 on its work on schools, electricity and water supply. However, the incumbent government did not fare well in the issues of creating jobs and tackling corruption, the survey found.
ADR and Daksh interviewed 13,244 people across 225 Assembly constituencies in Karnataka between December 2017 and February 2018 for the survey, which was launched to identify the issues that will influence the minds of voters in the approaching elections. It also asked respondents to review the performance of the state government on several vital parameters and assessed the factors that influence their voting preference.
Voters in rural Karnataka rated the current government’s performance at 7.05 out of 10. The government’s work on schools, electricity supply and food subsidy were rated well but it received poor ratings on providing better employment opportunities, skills development and the fight against corruption.
Access to water supply, better schools, better roads and better electricity, in that order, weigh heavily on the minds of rural voters. Voters are not duly worried about the access to the MLA, anti-terrorism and jobs training.Urban voters handed the government a score of 7.13 out of 10, with the best ratings reserved for its work on schools, electricity supply and public transport. These respondents rated the government poorly on its performance on creating public services such as public toilets and footpaths, fight against corruption and skills development.
On the raft of welfare schemes that the government runs, 79 percent of respondents said they were happy with the Anna Bhagya Scheme (delivery of rice via a Public Distribution System) while 63 percent were pleased with the Cycle Bhagya Scheme and 58 percent with the Krishi Bhagya scheme (targeted at farmers). However, Shaadi Bhagya Scheme (financial help for marriage of women from the minority community) had 45 percent respondents unhappy.
The Indira Canteen Scheme, which Congress president Rahul Gandhi launched amid much fanfare last year, seems to have made little inroads. Only 31 percent respondents were happy while 36 percent were unhappy with the scheme. Up to 33 percent of the respondents said they do not avail this scheme.
On reasons for which they vote for a candidate, 86 percent of the respondents said the candidate was the critical reason and 67 percent considered the candidate’s party to be the most important factor. Up to 42 percent said they would vote based on the chief ministerial candidate. A candidate’s religion and caste were important for 37 percent and 36 percent voters, respectively, said the survey.
First Published: IST