By Chauthi Duniya Bureau
Uttar Pradesh Assembly Election has always been important because it determines the future of Indian politics. Recent political developments in the state – discord within Samajwadi Party (SP), exodus from Mayawati’s party and failure to form Bihar like mega-alliance against Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and infighting within BJP – have rendered this election unpredictable. Opinion Polls have added to this confusion with every new survey coming up with its own unique results. Some predicts Mayawati emerging as a clear-cut winner while others claims Samajwadi Party getting the maximum seats, and still others maintains that the BJP may get the majority. To understand the reality and analyze the validity of these surveys, Chauthi Duniya conducted a pre-poll survey to gauge public opinion on various issues including leadership, political parties, law and order, employment, etc. The purpose of the survey is not to predict which party will get how many votes or how many seats, but to indicate which way the wind is blowing?
Chauthi Duniya conducted the survey during 14 to 18 January 2017. Our team of reporters and researchers visited different constituencies and personally interacted with voters. We used responses of voters as baseline data. Apart from this we also used Election Commission’s data on the previous elections. We preferred multistage stratified sampling method for this survey. Multistage stratified sampling is an efficient sampling method which combines the technique of stratified sampling and multistage sampling. Stratified multistage sampling is based in grouping units into sub-populations called strata and then using a hierarchical structure of units within each stratum. This technique is more accurate than other sampling methods. During the survey, we took extra care in including voter’s opinion from various regions and various strata like women, youth, dalits, mahadalits, minorities, OBCs and upper castes etc. The purpose was to grasp the mood of every stratum from every region. Our sample size was 16,000. The respondents were chosen from two assembly constituencies from every Lok Sabha constituency. Given the sample size and the technique, it can be concluded that this survey is more logical and credible than other ordinary polls.
According to Chauthi Duniya’s opinion poll Mayawati is clearly leading the race. She is the first choice for Chief Minister. She is facing a direct challenge from current Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Apart from these two leaders there is not a single leader in Uttar Pradesh who can make his or her presence felt in this direct battle. Mayawati who carries an image of a strict administrator is leading because people identified law and order as the main problem. People think that only Mayawati can fix this problem. Mayawati has an added advantage of wining the faith of minority community. In the survey, minority community feels safer under Mayawati government. In terms of Choice for Chief Minister, safety of minorities and maintaining law and order, the electoral climate of Uttar Pradesh favors Mayawati. Family feud within Samajwadi party and resentment over demonetization have added to her advantage.
It must be made clear that during the survey we did not find people dissatisfied with work and behavior of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav but of course there was resentment against the functioning of his government. According to this survey family feud has greatly damaged the prospects of Samajwadi party. Most of the people believe that Akhilesh should not have fought with his uncle Shivpal Yadav. According to the survey Samajwadi Party is going to gain from the alliance with Congress.
As far as the BJP is concerned the biggest drawback of the party is that it is faceless in this election. There is resentment against the demonetization which might hurt the BJP hard because rural population suffered a lot due to the lack of cash.
In this survey we asked 10 questions that has direct impact on election. The result of our survey is given below. We will keep updating you on assembly election 2017.
In response to this question most of the respondents prefer Mayawati of BSP, citing better law and order situation in the state during her rule. The second choice was the incumbent Chief Minister Akhelesh Yadav. Since BJP has not projected anyone as its candidate, hence there was no anonymity on any one name among our respondents.
Most the respondents to this question were of the view that they were unhappy with the performance of the government. It is but obvious for the anti-incumbency factor to come into play for a government that has been in power for five years. Interestingly, the recent infighting in the party also dented their public image. However, people’s dissatisfaction was more on deteriorating law and order in the state than anything else.
Complementing the answer to the previous question, most of the respondents singled out law and order as the main election issue. Corruption is another issue that has never been out of public imagination as far as elections in India are concerned. After law and order comes corruption followed closely by inflation, employment, road, electricity, etc.
On this question, 41 percent of the respondents preferred the BSP over others. There is a common perception in Uttar Pradesh that during Mayawati’s chief ministership law and order situation in the state was better and criminals and outlaws were dealt with firmly. Many leaders with criminal antecedents were jailed. This is the reason why majority of respondent preferred Mayawati’s government.
This question was exclusively for minorities. In response to this question 43 percent respondents said during BSP rule minorities felt more secure. They cite an instance when during Mayawati’s Chief Ministership Allahabad High Court was to pronounce its judgement on the Babri Masjid-Ramjanm Bhumi case. The fear of communal tension was in the air. But Mayawati administration handled the situation firmly and did not let even a leaf to stir.
In response to this question 46 percent people said it won’t. Interesting part of this response was that most of the people whose answer was in negative were of rural background, whereas those 23 percent people whose answer was in affirmative were of urban background. However, 31 percent respondents were noncommittal on this question. They said they can’t say whether it will benefit the or not. The response to this question might take the wind out of BJP sails, as party is pinning its hope on demonetization, projecting it as drive against corruption.
Interestingly a whopping 61 percent of the respondents said yes it was, and that it will hamper Akhilesh’s reelection bid in the state. Though most of the respondent who said Akhilesh committed mistake were older than 40 years, while most the respondent whose answer was no were younger than 40.
It has been seen in successive elections that when the infighting of a political party becomes public, it definitely damage to the party’s prospect in elections. During the run up to the Delhi Assembly Election the internal discord of the BJP became public and the party has to face a big humiliation in the election. Interestingly BJP had won all the Lok Sabha seats of Delhi few months earlier. Though there were other reasons for the party’s drubbing but the infighting had played a major role in that.
In response to this question 41 percent people said that Chief Minister’s face is their main consideration. The answer to this question is important because amongst three main contender parties, the candidate of BSP and SP are much ahead of the third contender the BJP. It may be due the fact that the BJP has not announced its chief ministerial candidate for the state.
41 percent people said yes it will, while 32 percent believe that it will not benefit SP. If we compare the outcome of this question with the data of previous elections, then certainly the SP will get benefitted from this alliance. In last general elections congress did it worst performance and despite that the party got 8 percent vote share. If those 8 percent votes transfer to the alliance then definitely it will pay rich dividend to the alliance in terms of seats.