Perceptions may affect voter behaviour in Assembly polls

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The Congress is in trouble in Punjab because anger against the government is reinforced by perceptions of winnability….reports Asian Lite News

There is no doubt that anti-incumbency, and often outright anger with the existing ruling party, plays a big role in voter decisions that lead to final election results.

There can also be no doubt that “perceptions” about who will win the elections affects voter behaviour.

This was revealed by final results of the CVoter-ABP News opinion poll released on Monday evening. A large number of voters seemed upset and angry with their existing governments in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa. But perceptions about who will win differed in many states.

The Congress is in trouble in Punjab because anger against the government is reinforced by perceptions of winnability. The poll revealed that 65.4 per cent of the voters were angry and wanted the government out. At the same time, only 12.2 per cent of voters “perceived” that the Congress will win the elections. This is a clear double whammy for the party.

In Goa too, a majority 50.4 per cent of voters were upset and wanted the current government out. Yet, close to 40 per cent of voters perceived the BJP will win the elections. That is giving some comfort to the BJP which seems decidedly unpopular in the state after ten years of rule.

In Uttar Pradesh too, 46.8 per cent of voters, close to a majority, are upset with the BJP government and want it out.

At the same time, 48.1 per cent of the voters perceived or felt that the BJP will win the elections. Could this be a reason for the C Voter ABP News projections that the BJP will win a simple majority in Uttar Pradesh.

In Uttarakhand, 43.3 per cent of voters want to change the government while 51.8 per cent feel that the BJP will retain power. This could be an interesting area of research for social scientists.

Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand BJP is leaving no stone unturned to gain political benefits by cornering rival Congress over the reportedly promised ‘Muslim University’ in the state in the Assembly polls.

The BJP claims that the Muslim University controversy has been intensely created by the Congress to polarise the minority votes ahead of the February 14 Assembly polls.

Uttarakhand Congress vice-president Akil Ahmad claimed former Chief Minister Harish Rawat assured that a Muslim university would be set up in Uttarakhand. The Congress party and former chief minister Rawat have denied Ahmad’s claims, the BJP has said that the opposition party is trying to ‘polarise Muslim voters’ in certain Assembly segments by promising to set up the Muslim University in the state for the community.

A senior Uttarakhand BJP leader claimed that the Congress leaders as part of well planned strategy said that Harish Rawat has promised setting up a Muslim University in the state. “Seeing the humiliating defeat, Congress is trying to polarise the election on religious lines,” he said.

BJP chief J.P. Nadda also attacked the Congress for promising the Muslim University and said that by building ‘community specific university’, the Congress is spreading poison of appeasement in the state.

“In the name of community specific university, the Congressmen are now spreading the poison of appeasement. What message do these people want to give to the people of Uttarakhand at the time of elections? In the name of the university, Congress leaders are destroying the society,” Nadda said addressing a public meeting in Dehradun Cantt Assembly seat on Monday evening.

BJP Rajya Sabha member from Uttarkhand Naresh Bansal said that the Congress is treating the Muslim community as ‘vote bank’ and by promising a university they are trying to appease the minority community.

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