Press Trust of india

Employment opportunities top list of voters' priorities; govt performance 'below avg': ADR survey

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New Delhi, May 13 :  Better employment opportunities, healthcare and drinking water were the top three issues which voters want the government of the day to work on, a national survey conducted by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has claimed.

As per the survey, conducted between October and December in 2018, the performance of the government has been rated "below-average", Jagdeep Chhokar, founder member, National Election Watch, ADR, told reporters here on Monday.

The survey covered 534 Lok Sabha constituencies with 2,73,487 voters participating in the exercise.

It was spread across various demographics such as voters' priorities on specific governance issues; voters' ratings of the government's performance on those issues, and factors affecting voting behaviour.

When asked if national security was one of the issues listed in the survey, Chhokar said, "terrorism was one of the 31 listed issues, and it figured on the 30th position in the survey".

Better employment opportunities figured as the highest priority among voters (46.80 per cent), followed by better healthcare (34.60 per cent) and drinking water (30.50 per cent), better roads (28.34 per cent) and better public transport (27.35 per cent), as per the national survey.

Chhokar claimed that as per the report, the performance of the government, measured on a scale of 1 to 5, was rated "below average" on top 10 governance issues.

He said as the survey was conducted last year, "Balakot airstrike, national security issue was not included in the list".

"It is important to note that agriculture-related governance issues featured predominantly in the top 10 list of voters' priorities, e.g. availability of water for agriculture (26.40 per cent) that was ranked sixth, agriculture loan availability (25.62 per cent) at seventh, higher price realisation for farm products (25.41 per cent) at eighth, and agriculture subsidy for seeds/fertilsers (25.06 per cent) at ninth," he said.

At the press conference, Chhokar said ADR has also analysed affidavits of candidates fighting the 2019 polls.

Out of the 7,928 candidates analysed for Lok Sabha 2019, 1,500 (19 per cent) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves, the ADR said.

Out of 8,205 candidates analysed during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, 1,404 (17 per cent) candidates had declared criminal cases against themselves, and out of 7,810 candidates analysed during the 2009 elections, 1158 (15 per cent) candidates had declared criminal cases against themselves, it stated.

The ADR claimed that as many as 1,070 (13 per cent) candidates contesting in the 2019 polls have declared serious criminal cases, including cases related to rape, murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, crimes against women.

Out of 8.205 candidates analysed during the 2014 polls, 908 (11 per cent) candidates had declared serious criminal cases against themselves, and out of 7,810 candidates analysed during the 2009 elections, 608 (8 per cent) candidates had declared serious criminal cases against themselves.

As many as "56 candidates have declared convicted cases against themselves," according to ADR.

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