Stench of corruption has stuck to UPA: All-India survey

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The constituency that thought highly of Manmohan Singh in 2009 — the educated and the literate — no longer thinks highly of his UPA government. In fact, the core message coming through from a CNN-IBN State of the Nation Survey is just the opposite: the UPA’s corruption stinks.

The survey, conducted by Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) from 1,300 locals in 19 states, confirms that corruption has become a big deal with the aam aadmi, both in urban and rural areas, but more so among the educated classes.

A decisive 60 percent of those surveyed felt that the UPA was running a “Very corrupt” or “Somewhat corrupt” government, with urban respondents showing an even higher percentage of disgust at 66 percent. That’s two out of three people. College-educated people were most vehement and angry, with as many as 71 percent agreeing with the above statements. This is the group from where Team Anna probably finds sustenance.

The constituency that thought highly of Manmohan Singh in 2009 — the educated and the literate — no longer thinks highly of his UPA government. B Mathur/Reuters

Rahul baba, you have a problem on your hands in 2014. Manmohan Singhji, your credibility has been shot to pieces — especially on corruption.

But Gadkariji, Sushmaji andJaitleyji, you have nothing to gloat about. Karnataka is the only state where the people are more concerned about the BJP’s corruption than the UPA’s by a huge margin. You did well asking Yeddyurappa to go, but you have a huge repair job to do.

Interestingly, corruption is a wider issue than the current media obsession with the 2G and Commonwealth Games scams. The survey finds 44 percent of the people agreeing with the statement that “The government has been insincere in responding to issues raised by the anti-corruption movements”, but barely 27 percent of the respondents had heard of A Raja and 25 percent of Suresh Kalmadi. Even fewer (22 percent) had heard of Kanimozhi or Dayanidhi Maran (19 percent).

What this suggests is that the recent incidents of corruption may merely have upped the ante on corruption, but the aam aadmi has more serious concerns about corruption and it goes well beyond the 2G or Commonwealth scams.

Perceptions about central- and state-level corruption also tell the same story. Despite the public’s strong unhappiness with UPA’s poor record on corruption, in many states the concerns are about both central and state corruption. In Karnataka and Andhra, state-level corruption seems like a bigger problem than the UPA’s distant corruption. Dilli door ast.

In Karnataka, for example, 52 percent of the respondents felt that the state government was more corrupt than the Centre, against just half the number who said the Centre was more corrupt. In Andhra, the anger with state-level corruption was 39 percent against 32 percent for the Centre.

Rahul Baba, here’s a tit-bit for you. In Uttar Pradesh, where you are trying to score points over Mayawati, both Centre and state are seen as nearly equally corrupt (at 32 and 30 percent). So maybe you should not make corruption a key talking point.

In Bihar, there is an even more interesting trend: while UPA is seen as corrupt (48 percent) and the state government as a near angel (just 14 percent), the real problems are at the level of local governments – panchayats and zilla parishads. Here the corruption score is 37 percent. Nitish Kumarji, this is your next challenge. Your panchayats are your Achilles’ heel.

Surprisingly, Sheila Dikshit’s government has emerged unscathed, with only 20 percent saying it was more corrupt than the Centre. Or is it luck at work, with people associating the Commonwealth scam squarely with Kalmadi and the Centre?

Given these perceptions, and given the strong antipathy of the educated and literate classes to corruption, it is little wonder that Team Anna is finding traction.

But there is a humbling thought for them, too: only a third of the people polled in 1,300 locations had heard of them, and only one-fourth knew what the Lokpal and Jan Lokpal Bills were about.

But so low is the trust in politicians, and especially the UPA government at the centre, that people implicitly trust the civil society movement more. The Tina (there is no alternative) factor is helping Anna Hazare more than anything else.

   Table 1:UPA government insincere on corruption

UPA government insincere on corruption.

    Table 2: UPA running a corrupt government

UPA is running a corrupt government.

Table 3: Centre most corrupt 

Table 3: Centre most corrupt.

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