Times of India
New Delhi

A voter perception survey for Maharashtra has rated its legislators as below average with security of women, corruption and inflation as top pressing issues.

The survey was conducted on 20,000 respondents in all 288 assembly segments by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Daksh. The average performance rating given to legislators was 5.28 while the average importance of issues was rated as 7.52 on a scale of 10 by the voters, indicating a significant gap between voters' expectations on governance issues and performance of the legislators.

Security for women, eradication of corruption and inflation are the top three issues as perceived by the voters. However, the performance of legislators on these top issues is below average. Performance in tackling corruption was considered the lowest at 4.68% while combating inflation scored 4.88. Voters scored legislators at 5.2 in addressing concerns for safety of women and 5.28 in handling waste management.

The survey also tried to identify the most important factors that people take into account before voting for a particular candidate. Voters in Maharashtra gave more importance to the trustworthiness of the candidate than any other factor like the candidate's party or religion. The CM candidate of a party and caste/religion of the candidate were the 4th and 5th most important factors which voters considered before voting.

The results of the assessment show striking difference between the priorities of the voters and performance on those issues and highlight the overall inadequate efforts of all institutions in fulfilling their role in providing what the voters really need. The primary aim of the assessment was to evaluate the effectiveness of elected representatives, government institutions, mechanisms in terms of planning and providing for the needs of the country and fostering transparency and integrity.

In addition, ADR and Daksh said they hoped the process would act as a springboard for action among the government and civil society organizations in terms of policy reforms, evidence-based advocacy, or further in-depth evaluation of specific governance issues and serve as a basis for key stakeholders to advocate for sustainable and effective reforms.

The larger purpose of the survey was to highlight voter priorities so that they are reflected in the election agenda and manifestos of political parties. It is also to ensure that electoral debates are on voters' issues rather than the agenda imposed by parties. "It is hoped that the manifestos of future governments will reflect these voter priorities," said a press statement by the two organizations.

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