Mumbai, Oct 26: As Maharashtra moves into election mode with polls scheduled in civic and local bodies, a voter survey conducted by a Pune-based institute has found that 84 per cent of the electorate would like their candidates to be less than 40 years of age.
The nomination process for elections to the Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchayats was started on October 24, whereas the actual polls will be held in four phases from November 27 to January 8, 2017.
With a view to gauge the voters' pulse, the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune carried out a voter perception survey in areas under 18 municipal councils and Nagar Panchayats across the state, and found that a "youth wave" seems to have gripped the electorate.
The institute has collaborated with the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Maharashtra Election Watch (MEW) to disseminate the findings of the voter perception survey and to help the electorate make an informed choice.
"84 per cent of the voters would like candidates to be less than 40 years of age. The young voters are especially emphatic about being represented by young candidates. 78 per cent of the voters express disappointment that most candidates contesting the local body polls are not even matriculate, whereas a thumping 92 per cent would like to see degree holding candidates representing them in the coming elections," said a statement issued by Maharashtra Election Watch, a NGO working on electoral reforms in the state.
The voter perception survey analysed responses from 5100 respondents during the month of October. The respondents were mostly from semi-urban areas. The institute also termed some findings as "sombre" and said that it needs to be addressed at all party levels.
"Some findings are sombre. 84 per cent of the voters feel that contesting candidates normally do not have requisite community building experience that is needed to carry out developmental work at the local bodies.
"86 per cent of voters believe that candidates contest polls merely because they belong to politically influential families. 83 per cent of voters would like their constituency to be contested by candidates with developmental experience," it said.
It also said that the top three characteristics that voters want their candidates to possess are: the accessibility to his/her voters, education and ability to represent ward level issues of voters in the local body meetings.