You had always felt the government machinery didn’t help you solve your area’s problem. You also felt, most of the time, that the area’s elected representatives were busy with their own agenda and not really bothered to find out what you wanted.

Your fears have just been confirmed! The average performance rating of legislators from Maharashtra, as perceived by voters, is a measly 5.28 on a scale of 10. At the same time, the average importance of issues was rated as 7.52 on a scale of 10 by voters.

‘Security for Women’, ‘Eradication of Corruption’ and ‘Inflation’ has emerged as the top three issues in Maharashtra ahead of the October 15 polling, as per a pre-election perception survey by Election watchdog Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Daksha, a non-profit.

Maharashtra Poll

“Thus, as we can see, there is a huge gap between the voter’s expectations on governance issues and performance of the legislators on those issues,” ADR-Dakhsa said in a release.

The voter perception survey was conducted by questioning over 20,000 respondents across all 288 assembly constituencies of Maharashtra. The survey collected demographic information of the respondents along with their ratings on the relative importance of various issues in the run up to the elections, along with their ratings on the relative importance of various issues in the run up to the elections. Respondents have also rated the performance of the status of governance on these issues in the past five years, reflecting a sort of “performance rating”.

Findings of the survey:

A list of 35 items such as water, electricity, roads, food, education, health etc, was given to the voters with an aim to identify what are voters’ priorities in terms of governance issues and they were asked to rate the importance of the issues. “Security for women, eradication of corruption and inflation came out as the top three issues in Maharashtra, as perceived by the voters,” the release said.

However, the performance of the legislators on these top issues is below average, it said. (Average = rating of 6 on a scale of 10)

Another interesting find was the voting behaviour of people in Maharashtra. The survey found out that more importance was accorded to the trustworthiness of the individual candidate (75.82%) followed by the candidate himself (82.72%), the party to which she/he belongs to (75.82%), the party’s chief ministerial candidate (66.10%), candidate’s caste/religion (28.59%) and the least importance was given to distribution of money, liquor and gifts (18.73%).

Maharashtra Poll

Larger purpose:

“The larger purpose of this survey is to highlight voter priorities so that they are reflected in the election agenda and manifestos of political parties. And, also so that electoral debates are on voter issues rather than agenda imposed by parties … It is hoped that the manifestos of future government will reflect these voter priorities,” the release said.

“The key objectives of this perception assessment is to generate an improved understanding of the important needs and expectations of the voters; momentum among key stake holders for addressing priority issues; enabling comparison of governance indicators and ratings across constituencies and districts and provide a richer understanding of ground level issues,” the release added.

The two organisations claimed that the primary aim of their assessment was to evaluate the effectiveness of elected representatives, government institutions, mechanisms etc, in terms of planning and providing for the needs of the country and fostering transparency and integrity.

“We also seek to promote the assessment process as a springboard for action among the government and civil society organisations in terms of policy reforms, evidence based advocacy, or further in-depth evaluations of specific governance issues. This assessment should serve as a basis for key stakeholders to advocate for sustainable and effective reforms,” the release said.

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