Unemployment, price rise, demonetisation and GST, the economic issues that the Congress party had raised in the course of the Lok Sabha campaign, fell in significance as the seven-phase elections progressed, a post poll survey by CSDS-Lokniti has revealed.
Unemployment was top of the mind issue for a mere 12 per cent of voters. A pre-poll survey in March showed that it was the biggest problem for 21 per cent of voters. However, this was their spontaneous response to an unprompted question but when asked a close-ended question on unemployment, 60 per cent said it was an important issue.
Overall, though, economic worries got little traction in the mind of the voters, dropping from 38 per cent a month back to 25 per cent in the post poll survey conducted by CSDS-Lokniti.
The CSDS-Lokniti survey said that unemployment was a major issue in the Hindi heartland states than in the rest of the country. Economy-related issues were deemed to be more important in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu.
The Rafale deal, on which the Congress led by its President Rahul Gandhi ran a no-holds-barred campaign, failed to register much with the voters. The CSDS-Lokniti survey says that only half of the respondents were aware of the controversy and less than half of them thought there was any wrongdoing in the matter. The Congress had invested a lot of time and energy on the Rafale campaign and personally targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.
On the other side, the Pulwama attack, the air strike against militant camps in Balakot and national security did not draw much attention either — a mere 2 per cent of the voters said it was important for them as an election issue, according to the CSDS-Lokniti survey. However, the survey says it worked in favour of the BJP at the subliminal level.
Aside from the anti-BJP campaign, the Congress party’s own NYAY scheme was not expected to do wonders for it. That was because, even though, awareness of it grew as the election progressed, many among the poor who were to benefit from it did not know about the scheme.
The general trend among voters, like the majority of those who had heard of the Balakot air strike, thought that Modi should be given another chance.