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05.05.2019
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The Chandigarh survey showed that water and air pollution (45.96 per cent), noise pollution (45.57 per cent) and better hospitals/primary healthcare centres (45.15 per cent) are the top three voters’ priorities in the UT.

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The report stated that the performance of the government/administration on all these top three voters priorities was rated below average. Water and air pollution was rated 1.65 on a scale of 5, noise pollution was rated 1.83 and primary healthcare centres was rated 1.96 out of 5.

In a stinging indictment of both, the administration and the Municipal Corporation, a survey conducted by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has found that both have failed to work on issues important to the voters in the city over last five years.

The report specifies, “The Chandigarh survey report 2018 points to the fact that voters’ priorities in Chandigarh have been neglected by the administration/ government in power. This is quite clear from the fact that the administration/government has performed poorly and underwhelmingly on all top ten governance issues as rated by the voters of Chandigarh.’’

In another interesting insight, the report, which also surveyed voter behaviour, found that for most of the voters, the candidate’s party is the most significant reason in voting for a particular candidate, followed by the candidate themselves. The ADR conducted a survey across 500 respondents across Chandigarh, where the priorities of the voters and the voting behaviour was also surveyed. The survey was conducted between October 2018 and December 2018, prior to the Lok Sabha elections of 2019.

Two per cent of the voters surveyed were from rural areas and 98 per cent were from urban areas. Of the voters surveyed, 74 per cent were males and 26 per cent were females. 83 per cent were from general category, 15 per cent were from SC category and 2 per cent were OBC category.

The Chandigarh survey showed that water and air pollution (45.96 per cent), noise pollution (45.57 per cent) and better hospitals/primary healthcare centres (45.15 per cent) are the top three voters’ priorities in the UT.

The report stated that the performance of the government/administration on all these top three voters priorities was rated below average. Water and air pollution was rated 1.65 on a scale of 5, noise pollution was rated 1.83 and primary healthcare centres was rated 1.96 out of 5.

In rural Chandigarh, top most voters priorities were agriculture loan availability, which was at 55 percent, higher price realisation for farm products (55 per cent) and 53 per cent of the respondents mentioned better employment opportunities.

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The performance of administration/government on these top three rural voters’ priorities was rated below average with agriculture loan availability being rated 1.64 out of 5, higher price realisation for farm products receiving a score of 2.01 and better employment opportunities at 1.98 out of 5. In addition to this, it was specified that the administration/government has performed poorly on sand and stone quarrying/mining with a score of 1.87 and electricity for agriculture in rural Chandigarh with a score of 1.97.

The performance of the government on urban voters’ priorities was again rated below average with water and air pollution getting a rate of 1.65, noise pollution at 1.83 and primary healthcare at 1.95 out of 5.

Interestingly, the survey also found 20 per cent of voters saying that distribution of cash, liquor, gifts was an important factor in voting for a particular candidate in an election and for 15 per cent of the population, it was a very important important factor.

At the same time, 65 per cent of voters knew that distribution of cash, gifts was illegal.

The report stated that 69 per cent of voters revealed that they were aware of instances where such inducements were offered to voters in return of their votes.

A survey on the criminal background revealed that 98 per cent of voters felt that candidates with criminal background should not be in Parliament or state assembly. In relation to voting for candidates with criminal antecedents, 42 per cent of voters felt that people vote for criminal candidates because they are unaware about the criminal records of these candidates. Caste and religious considerations are also key factors for 39 per cent voters in choosing candidates with criminal records.

“The fact that the electorate has no role once the politician has been elected, allows the priority of the elected candidates to be determined by political parties. It is then hoped that the electorate takes care to elect a better politician to represent them,” the report states.

Reacting to ADR’s findings, Congress candidate from Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat Pawan Bansal said, “ I believe that the working of the government over last five years has been really poor. And now, these findings coming from ADR has validated my belief. Being in Delhi, I have seen the ADR’s working. As far as the voters’ priorities are concerned, it is right that nothing has been done for the environment in these years.”

BJP city chief Sanjay Tandon , said, “I haven’t seen the report so I won’t be able to comment on its findings or how it was prepared.”

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