Note: This is part 2 of Eedina’s survey report on Karnataka elections. You can read part 1 here. The Wire will report on part 3 of the survey tomorrow, April 27.
New Delhi: A pre-poll survey conducted by the Kannada outlet Eedina finds corruption is the primary issue in the forthcoming assembly elections, followed by price rise and unemployment.
As part of the survey, respondents were asked to choose two problems which mattered to them most while voting for electing a new government.
At least 68% of the respondents said that the issue of corruption will affect their voting choices, followed by price rise (47%) and unemployment (34%).
Only 13% of the respondents considered women’s safety and drinking water and electricity as major issues which will impact their voting choices. Only 12% of the respondents said health and education mattered to them, while 10% said crime, violence and atrocities mattered to them in this election.
Eedina said the survey is conducted in all the assembly constituencies. As part of the methodology, Eedina selected 16 booths in one of the constituencies with the help of random sampling. The same method was followed for selecting 400 people in each constituency, to whom Eedina spoke to in person.
This survey was conducted through speaking with voters in their homes in person and not through phone calls, Eedina said.
Eedina said that it has surveyed 183 constituencies, with 28 more constituencies to be surveyed. Nearly 40,000 people, chosen from various communities to be representative of the state’s population, were chosen for the survey, it says. In every constituency, people from 16 booths chosen randomly were surveyed, it added. Nearly 55% of the respondents were male and 45% were female.
In an earlier report by The Wire, Eedina, which also provided caste and community-wise responses, showed that upper caste Hindus (Brahmins, Vaisyas, etc.) were one of only two communities in favour of the current government. The survey said that 57% of upper castes wanted the BJP to be re-elected. Lingayats were the other community in favour of the BJP, with 53% saying they want the Bommai government to get re-elected.
Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Muslims, Vokkaligas and Kurubas have largely expressed their opinion against the continuation of this government, Eedina said.
Note: This survey does not include details of the interviews conducted in Bengaluru. As the survey is still being conducted in the city, details of the rest of Karnataka are given here.
Corruption, a major issue
The survey also finds that corruption is an issue affecting supporters of all political parties: 73% of Congress supporters, 66% of Janata Dal (Secular) and 61% of Bharatiya Janata Party supporters said corruption was an important issue.
The chief minister Basavaraj Bommai government has battled several corruption allegations over the last year.
In August 2022, 13,000 schools from Karnataka had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing the Basavaraj Bommai government of serious corruption. The letter was written by two school management bodies who alleged that the state education department had been demanding bribes for various processes, including for the issuance of recognition certificates to educational institutions.
In April 2022, BJP leader K.S. Eshwarappa had to step down as Karnataka’s rural development and panchayati raj minister after he was charged with abetment of suicide of Santosh K. Patil — a contractor who had accused him of corruption.
In March, Lokayukta officials caught a sitting BJP MLA's son for taking 50% of the total promised bribe of Rs 81 lakh from a private individual at his father’s office in Bengaluru.
The survey finds that price rise hurts the poor most. Around 50-51% of the respondents belonging to 'poor and very poor' category mentioned 'price rise' as a major issue when asked which of the problems would matter to them most when voting for a party.
Less than half of the respondents surveyed (42-45%) belonging to the middle and lower-middle class considered price rise as an issue in this election.
Unsurprisingly, only 32% of the respondents belonging to the upper class considered price rise as an issue in this election.
The Hindu reported that even as free cylinders under the Ujwala scheme and subsidy for others have been withdrawn, the poor are bearing the brunt of price rise. The report said the price of a non-subsidised LPG cylinder touched Rs 1,105 in Bengaluru, a whopping 70% increase since 2018.
The prices of agricultural and dairy farming inputs have also increased by over 25%, therefore reducing the disposable personal income of farmers in the state, it said.
In addition, the state government's minimum wage revision exercise has not brought relief, it added.
In Karnataka, the rate of unemployment is lower than the national average. Yet, it is one of the first three problems, the survey shows.
The Karnataka Jobs Report 2022-23 said that the state's unemployment rate is 2.7% – which is lower than the national unemployment rate of 4.2%, the Hindu reported.
Around 42-43% of the respondents, who have completed their graduation or post-graduation, or who are professionals, expressed greater anxiety about unemployment. However, 26% of the respondents, who are illiterate, expressed no concerns about joblessness.
The survey also finds that youngsters aged 18 to 25 are the most worried about unemployment.
Note: This article was updated to correct that 400 people, and not 25, were surveyed in each constituency.