Ranchi: Employment, access to healthcare, law and order are the top three priorities for voters of the state in this general election but the raging debate over corruption is the least talked about on the ground, reveals a pre-poll survey conducted between October and December last year by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the National Election Watch (NEW) campaign.
Titled ‘Jharkhand Survey Report, 2018’, the study also brings to fore that the government has miserably failed to fulfil voter preferences and underlined that once a politician is elected, they seldom put the electorate’s demands into consideration while drafting schemes and policies.

While releasing the report on Thursday, Sudhir Pal, the state coordinator for ADR-NEW, said the nationwide survey captures voices of close to three lakh voters. He said, “In Jharkhand, the survey was done for all 14 parliamentary constituencies touching about 7,000 voters, cutting across different segments and castes in rural and urban areas.”
During the survey, ADR-NEW analyses 10 most important governance issues as rated by voters out of the 31 questions posed to them. Interestingly, the issue of corruption didn’t fare in the top 10 among rural voters, while in urban pockets, it remained the last. Jharkhand has had its share of scams, including on horse-trading, mining and 2011 National Games among others.
The overall top three priorities of the the state voters, both in rural and urban pockets, are better employment opportunities (47.08%), access to better health care (40.08%) and law and order (47.08%). In all of these, the government performance has been abysmally below average when evaluated on a rating of 1-5 point scale.
“We took score of three as an average performance while 1 is bad and 5 is good. In overall voter preference category, the government’s score in jobs was 2.11, healthcare is 1.90 and law and order is 2.39. The government has made claims of job creation and livelihood options but there is disconnect on the ground. There could be various reasons for these,” Pal said.
In rural Jharkhand, the voter priorities were focussed on better employment opportunities (47%), agriculture subsidy for seeds and fertilizers (42%) and electricity for agriculture (40%). Here too, the government scores below average with rating of 2.15, 5, 2.06 and 2.09 respectively.
On the contrary, for the urban voters, law and order (55%) topped the priority list followed by job opportunities (55%) and access to better/affordable healthcare (46%). The government’s performance on these priorities remained 2.10, 1.99 and 1.91 — all below average, the report said. “Other key priorities in urban areas were road, public transport where the government performance is poor,” Pal said.

On voting behaviour, the report said party is more important for the voters than the candidates in fray. A total of 48% respondents said candidate’s party was ‘important’ and another 30% rated it as ‘very important’. Only a meagre 18 % voters said a candidate is ‘very important’ while 50% said ‘important’.
As far candidates with criminal backgrounds are concerned, 98% voters felt such candidates shouldn’t be in Parliament or in the assembly, but in relation to voting, 36% tend to vote as they believe despite facing cases, they did a good job. Also, 35% felt cases against the candidates aren’t serious in nature. Other factors that influence voting in favour of a candidate with criminal background include 35% caste, 34% power associated with him or her, and 34% spendings for voters.

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