'Note for vote' gaining currency amongst Indian voters, says study

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Indian voters influenced by notes: Study
New Delhi, Oct 15: The expectation of getting a bribe for casting a favoured vote is one of the "critical factors" that drives the ballot choice amongst Indian voters and this desire in witnessing an upward trend, a latest electoral indices study has found.

"About 70 percent of those who change or make up their voting choice in the last minute are influenced by anyone or a combination of these five factors -- local pressures, lure of money, effective campaigns, coverage in news media and manifesto offers. In this process, lure of money is a more likely factor, not always acknowledged and often goes by group dynamics."

"Money lure is considered as one of the five critical factors that determine voting choice of undecided voters and induce shift in voting intentions in the last minute. The percentage of voters who view money as a factor has substantially increased in 2014 as compared to 2008," the study done by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS) to check voting trends based on this specific index between 2007-14 in the country said.

The CMS-India Corruption Study claims to have researched the 'lure of money in lieu of votes in Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections. The trend: 2007-2014'.

The 'note-for-vote' study found that the percentage of voters who considered lure of money as a last minute factor before casting their ballot has increased in the major states where polls were held during this test period which includes states like Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra among few others.

While in Karnataka in 2008, seven percent voters thought so, in 2014 the numbers rose to 15 percent and similarly in Maharashtra the percentage numbers of such voters rose to ten from two in 2008.

The study, which took a sample of 75,000 voters during the period 2007-14, adds that "the percent of voters who view corruption as one of the issues bothering them has also increased significantly in 2014. There is acknowledgement of money as an influencing factor in voting choice."

The study states that in polls held in 2014, 75 percent voters in Andhra Pradesh, 26 percent in Uttar Pradesh, 30 percent in Madhya Pradesh, 20 percent in Punjab and 8 percent in Delhi experienced such a phenomenon themselves or knew about distribution of such bribe money in the neighbourhood. However, the study adds that the ground work done to compile the final results bring out a data that "voter does not make a link between taking lures from candidates during election times to the compulsions of giving bribe in availing government services in the subsequent months/years."

The study claimed that the phenomenon of "money for votes" is not limited to the rural voters but is a national phenomena spread across rural, urban and among different age groups and irrespective of educational level of voters.

Calling the 'note-for-vote' phenomenon as the "mother of all corruption", the study said the trends of the research since 2007 suggest that a citizen who gives bribe for availing basic services indicate that voters "end up paying a bribe of several times more the amount received for vote from a candidate once a few years."

The study talks of high expectations on the part of voters with regard to this subject.

"A much higher percentage of voters expect that money will be paid in the poll ahead than the percent received in the previous election," the study claimed.


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