The provision of essential amenities such as healthcare, education, water, roads, and electricity by the government can significantly influence public perception of their performance. In the 2018 Tripura election, the BJP focused on the Left government’s misrule, but this time, the incumbent BJP-IPFT government’s focus and campaigning highlighted good governance. The party emphasised its achievements over the past five years, with BJP president J. P. Nadda claiming that it had fulfilled all its promises and even accomplished the tasks it had not promised. Lokniti’s post-poll survey data on key governance indicators assessing the work of the incumbent BJP-IPFT government in the State showed that the voter assessment of public infrastructure had been largely positive, which was one of the several factors contributing to the BJP’s victory.
A little over two in every five voters believed that the supply of electricity (50%), drinking water (46%) and conditions of roads (42%) had improved since the last election. One-third of the voters also shared the belief that the condition of government schools (37%) and hospitals (36%) had improved. Despite a small number of voters (close to two in ten) believing that roads, public education, and healthcare had worsened, there was a general consensus on the improvement of civic amenities (Table 1). This perception of improvement in public infrastructure also yielded electoral gains as the data highlighted that more than half of the voters in the State were satisfied with the government’s performance.
This development was not uniform across localities and voters opined that the improvement had largely been in urban areas as opposed to the rural areas. The difference between the two was considerable, if not double. Close to seven in every ten voters from the urban areas felt that the conditions of roads had improved along with the supply of electricity, whereas the corresponding figures for those in rural areas was only four in ten. As many as six in ten urban voters stated an improvement in the supply of drinking water. When it came to improvement in the condition of government schools and hospitals in urban areas, over five in ten voters stated that there was improvement in the civic infrastructure. In contrast, only 42% of voters living in rural areas felt there was an improvement in the supply of drinking water, while three in ten percent believed that the conditions of government schools and hospitals had improved (Table 2). Though there was a clear urban- rural divide in the assessment of the work done by the BJP it did not hurt BJP’s chances for winning a second term.