Closer look of the Voter's Mind: A Perspective from UP's Villages

  • | Tuesday | 16th April, 2024

BY- Alok Verma

As India gears up for one of the largest democratic exercises in the form of general elections, the country has entered into an election mood without creating much noise on the ground. The election, spread over almost two months, demands significant mobilization of resources by political parties, contesting candidates, and administrative and security agencies. Amidst this humdrum, the most crucial element in the entire election process is the voter, who waits for the five-year period before casting the vote after evaluating many pros and cons.

The ground realities and voter sentiment in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh provide valuable insights for political parties and candidates. The overwhelming trust in the leadership of Mr. Narendra Modi, the emphasis on visible development, stability, and the transformative benefits of the digital economy underscore the factors influencing voter behavior.

For the ruling party, the challenge lies in translating the positive sentiment and trust into electoral success, while the opposition faces the task of bridging the gap between their narrative and the priorities of the average voter.

To measure the pulse on the ground, I embarked on a journey to villages and semi-urban areas in Fatehpur and Sitapur districts, approximately 100 kilometers away from the state capital of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.

Engaging with the Heart of India`s Democracy

Interacting with local shopkeepers, self-employed individuals, farmers, women, youth, teachers, and working professionals at the local level, I delved into the heart of India`s democracy. It became explicitly clear that the trust in the persona of Mr. Narendra Modi is very high. Opposition leaders, whether at the state or national level, have failed to register their presence in the mindshare of the average voter.

The Inconsequential Debate: Priorities of the Voter

Most of the issues debated by various political spokespersons, including the ruling party, in their stentorian voices in television studios, seem inconsequential in the voter`s priorities. While issues such as unemployment, poverty, and farmers` struggles with getting the right value for their produce and dealing with middlemen persist, most voters feel adequately compensated due to the stable law and order in the state.

Visible Development: A Glimpse of Progress

The development, at least in the areas I visited, is very much visible. Most of the villages I traveled to have improved roads, 18-hour electricity, accessible water, and schools within a maximum distance of 5 kilometers. Despite the existing issues, most voters feel the state has made progress.

The Digital Transformation: Empowering the Youth

One can also witness the transformative benefits of the digital economy, as most average voters, especially the youth, have become beneficiaries of easy financial transactions using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and social media for business purposes.

The Opposition`s Struggle: A Disconnect with the Voter

Despite Congress leader Mr. Rahul Gandhi raising issues such as unemployment, curbing freedom of speech, and the use of investigative agencies to silence voices, these issues have not resonated with the majority of voters in rural areas. For them, development on the ground and direct benefit transfers are of greater significance than those raised by the opposition bloc.

Empowering Women: A Different Sentiment

Women, especially Muslim women, expressed admiration for Mr. Modi due to the benefits they have received from the ruling party. Although they did not specify particular issues, it was evident that controversial decisions, which received criticism from the opposition, were viewed differently on the ground.

The BJP`s Rhetoric: A Test of Reality

It remains to be seen whether the BJP can convert its greatest rhetoric of `abki 400 paar` into a reality. However, the opposition has failed to win the mindshare of the average voter and garner trust and credibility.

The Data Perspective: A Closer Look at Voter Sentiment

According to recent surveys conducted in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh, the sentiment towards the ruling party is overwhelmingly positive. Data from the survey reveals that over 70% of respondents expressed trust in the leadership of Mr. Narendra Modi, citing visible development and improved infrastructure as key factors influencing their support.

Furthermore, the survey highlighted that nearly 60% of respondents identified law and order stability as a significant contributor to their satisfaction with the current government. This sentiment aligns with the observations made during on-ground interactions, where voters expressed a sense of security and stability under the current administration.

In terms of digital empowerment, the survey revealed that approximately 80% of youth respondents acknowledged the positive impact of digital economy initiatives, citing increased access to financial services and business opportunities through social media platforms.

The survey also shed light on the disconnect between the opposition`s narrative and the priorities of the average voter. While issues such as unemployment and freedom of speech were acknowledged as important, they were overshadowed by the tangible impact of development initiatives and direct benefit transfers.

The survey further emphasized the significant influence of women voters, particularly in rural areas, where the ruling party`s policies and initiatives were perceived positively, contributing to a sense of empowerment and progress.

Implications for the General Elections:locations

In conclusion, the ground realities of the upcoming general elections reflect a strong trust in the current government`s leadership and a focus on tangible development rather than the issues raised by the opposition. The digital economy and direct benefit transfers have also played a significant role in shaping the voter`s mindset. As India prepares for this democratic exercise, understanding the pulse on the ground is crucial for all stakeholders involved.

The insights from the survey and on-ground interactions provide a nuanced understanding of voter sentiment, highlighting the need for political actors to align their messaging and policies with the priorities and aspirations of the electorate. As the democratic process unfolds, the implications of these ground realities will undoubtedly shape the trajectory of Indian politics and governance.

(The writer is a National Award winning journalist and the founder of

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