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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Was price rise an electoral issue?

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File photo of a vendor in Ahmedabad.
| Photo Credit: REUTERS

The most important issue mentioned by a large number of respondents in the pre-election survey by Lokniti-CSDS was price rise. Even while voting, that concern remained. But this concern adversely affected the BJP only marginally. The AAP and the Congress were unable to cash in on the issue of price rise.

The post-poll data show that close to nine in 10 voters opined that inflation had increased in the last five years. This clearly shows that rising prices were a big issue for the voters. Despite this, the BJP gained the support of a major chunk of even those who said that inflation had increased (50%). Support for the BJP in this group was the lowest when compared to those who said that there was a decrease or no change in inflation (67% and 66% respectively).

As mentioned above, in the study conducted before the polls, price rise was the most important issue for voters. However, on the day of voting, development became the biggest issue for half the voters with only 8% identifying with the issue of price rise. This is a paradox that requires deeper understanding. This also suggests that intense campaigns and how issues are framed during the campaign do matter in shaping voter choices in the last instance.

Vibha Attri and Jyoti Mishra are researchers at Lokniti-CSDS

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