HYDERABAD: Elections are often perceived to be synonymous with distribution of cash, liquor and freebies in many parts of the country. However, the latest report on voter behaviour and government performance by the Association of Democratic Reforms—titled 2018 Telangana Survey—suggests that the aforesaid factors were least important for respondents while choosing a candidate. As many as 75 per cent of the sample claimed they could not be wooed with cash, liquor or gifts. Released on April 5, the study was conducted between August and November 2018 with a sample size of 550 voters from each of the 17 Lok Sabha segments.
Incidentally, 65 per cent of the respondents were well aware of the fact that the distribution of cash/gifts/money was illegal, while 20 per cent of them knew of the instances of distributions in campaigns.
It was also recorded that 93 per cent of the respondents thought that people should not vote for candidates with a criminal record. However when the respondents were asked why people vote for candidates with a criminal history, 21 per cent agreed to the candidate being of the same caste/religion, 85 per cent to them being powerful, and 68 per cent to them spending generously in polls.
The survey was conducted with 57 per cent of the respondents from rural areas and 43 per cent from urban areas.
The study also identified that in both urban and rural areas, the religion of the candidate was important to only 17 per cent of the total respondents. However, the candidate and their affiliation to their political party were of utmost importance with 43 per cent of the respondents claiming that the nominee’s political party also played a major deciding factor.
The report also observes that the State’s rural respondents voted ‘strong defence/military’, and ‘terrorism’ as the least of their problems. Both the categories received votes from only 2 per cent of the respondents.