The Aam Aadmi Party might’ve swept the Delhi polls, but its support didn’t quite extend to all sections of the population.
As education levels among voters rises, the support for BJP in the Delhi elections grew, the India Today Axis post poll survey showed. Nearly 70 percent of illiterate voters voted for the Aam Aadmi Party, while just around 20 percent voted for the BJP. As education levels rose, support for the Aam Aadmi Party fell, and support for the BJP went up. The two parties were neck-and-neck with voters who were graduates and post-graduates, and BJP took a substantial lead with voters who had a professional degree.
More than 50 percent of voters with a B.E., M.B.B.S., B.Tech., M.E., M. Tech., and MBA degree supported the BJP, while only around 30 percent supported AAP. BJP was the preferred party among professionals including doctors, advocates, engineers and CAs, while labourers and skilled professionals (electrician/ plumber/ guide/ pandit/ technician/ carpenter/ auto driver/ driver) gravitated most towards the Aam Aadmi Party.
It’s not surprising how lower education levels would correlate with higher support for AAP — poorly educated voters are easier to hoodwink and mislead. Poorly educated voters can be made to believe that giving away free water, electricity and bus rides is “development”, but they don’t quite realize that it hurts the economy in the long run — the Delhi Jal board has incurred losses of over Rs. 800 crore over the last two years, and the Delhi State Transportation incurred record working losses of Rs. 1750 crore last year. These losses mean that these public bodies will be unable to improve their services — the water reaching Delhi’s homes is among the most polluted in India, and Delhi has managed to get only a fraction of the AC buses it had planned. But the freebies work in the short run — poorly informed people can be made to cast votes on the basis of lower utility bills, even as the state’s treasury and infrastructure suffers.
But AAP seems to have cracked this model — by giving away free electricity and water, it’s managed to loyal cultivate a poorly-educated voter base that other parties will find hard to breach. The model will likely stall Delhi’s development and bankrupt its finances in the years to come, but there’s no denying the political nous of Delhi’s incumbent Chief Minister — and he’s now got the electoral results to show for it.