Lucknow: Development and government functioning were among the top priorities for voters in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections while the Ram temple and Hindutva did not weigh much in the minds of people while exercising their franchise, a post-poll survey has highlighted.
The study said the net satisfaction with the Narendra Modi government at the Centre was three times higher than that of the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, indicating the “Modi magic” helped the BJP return to power for the second consecutive term.
The Lokniti-CSDS poll survey also points to a new group of beneficiaries of welfare schemes such as Kisan Samman Nidhi, Ujjwala Scheme, PM Awas Yojna and free ration rooting for the ruling coalition, irrespective of caste and religious considerations.
Another important fact that emerged in the comprehensive data collection was that allaying all pre-poll apprehensions, the BJP got more support among farmers, Brahmins, and also increased its outreach among Scheduled Castes, even among Mayawati’s core vote bank Jatavs.
The BJP-led coalition broke over three decades old record by getting re-elected for a second consecutive time in UP under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
On how reliable the survey was in terms of size and geographical coverage, Sanjay Kumar, Professor and Co-Director of Lokniti programme at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, told PTI that it was a comprehensive sample, an important factor for any survey to be accurate.
Thirty-eight per cent of responders said development topped their priority, 12 per cent said changing or removing the government guided them to the polling booth and 10 per cent listed functioning of the government as their consideration.
Surprisingly the Ram Mandir and Hindutva issue found favour only among 2 per cent of the responders and so was the case with the topic of stray animal menace raised by the opponents prominently to put the Adityanath government on the mat.
Even during campaigning, it was noticed that though the construction of the Rama temple in Ayodhya was talked about but it was not a dominant poll narrative even in Ayodhya, where the competing parties raised the issue of development more prominently.
Even in Dhannipur village that comes under the Bikapur assembly segment in Ayodhya, where five acres have been allotted after the Supreme Court order for building up of a new mosque, the matter related to day-to-day life found more favour.
All BJP star campaigners highlighted the robust functioning of the government in the field of defence and also evacuating stranded students from war-torn Ukraine.
The issue is further reflected in the fact that while net satisfaction with the UP government increased by 7 per cent in 2022 as compared to 2017, the hike was 24 per cent for the Centre during the same period.
A startling revelation of the study published exclusively by the Hindu was the emergence of a new bloc of beneficiaries of welfare schemes launched by the Centre and the state government.
Almost four in five households in Uttar Pradesh have benefitted from the free ration scheme and three in five have benefitted from the PDS scheme that provides ration at a subsidised cost.
Talking to people in different parts of the state during the elections, it came to light that women of families, even those owing allegiance to the opposition parties, backed the BJP for the welfare schemes in times of distress.
Modi as well as Yogi never forget to mention the number of beneficiaries of the “pucca makan” (house), free ration during the coronavirus pandemic and the benefits availed by people from the Rs 5 lakh health insurance scheme of the central government.
The survey also falsified the caste arithmetic in favour of the opposition parties in the light of reports of Brahmins unhappiness with the state government and the OBC consolidating in favour of the SP after the flight of leaders like Swami Prasad Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan and Dharam Singh Saini.