80% in state feel cash-for-vote is completely fine, finds survey

It might not come as a big surprise for many but according to a survey conducted by the office of Bihar’s chief electoral officer (CEO), 80 percent of people feel taking money or gifts to vote for someone is not wrong. According to The Times of India, the survey was carried out to assess voting patterns and behaviour.

“It is a standard practice to find out the voting pattern and voters’ behaviour so that we can use the findings as inputs to improve our voter awareness activities,” Bihar’s additional CEO R Lakshmanan told The Times of India.  After the survey was conducted, the Election Commission now is not only concentrating on increasing the voting percentage, it is also looking at informing people about ethical voting.

At least, 4,500 voters were part of the survey and to maintain equality, voters from high and low-turnout districts were picked. “Even within the districts, we ensured that the sample included voters from both high and low-turnout booths,” Lakshmanan said.

It is not possible to ascertain the success the EC will have in reaching all voters, keeping in mind the remote areas of the state.

According to Lakshmanan, it has also been estimated from the survey that the voting percentage will increase in this election, because voting will take place during the festive season and people who otherwise fail to vote due to their work in other areas or states will be home.

The first phase of polling for the Bihar Assembly Election will start in a week, and opinion polls have predicted victory for the BJP-led four-party coalition. However, the pre-poll surveys have also said that it will be a neck-to-neck contest in caste-conscious Bihar.

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