In some respects, the Uttarakhand election story mirrors that of neighbouring Uttar Pradesh. After Uttar Pradesh, the highest proportion of beneficiaries, or labharthis, from welfare schemes was in Uttarakhand, and this seems to have been one of the contributory factors behind the BJP’s repeat victory in the State.
The Lokniti-CSDS post-poll survey found that 67% or nearly seven out of 10 households in the State had benefited from free ration under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
While the figure was even higher among the poor and lower class households, at well over 80%, what is interesting and rather surprising is that our survey also found that the facility of free ration even reached a majority of the well-off households which may not have really required it.
In addition to free ration, many households also reported having benefited from cash transfers.
While two-thirds of farming households had got the ₹2,000 cash instalment in a family member’s account every four months under PM-KISAN, one-third of all households (farming and non-farming combined) received money in their bank accounts under some scheme or the other. As many as 38% of the households in the State also reported having benefited from a health protection scheme of the government.
This high benefit from government schemes seems to have helped the BJP in the election. The survey found nearly half (46%) the households in the State to have benefited from both free ration and cash transfers, and among them, the BJP performed the best, netting 47% of their votes.
Among households that had only benefited from cash transfer (7%), the party did nearly as well, securing 44% votes. However, households that had benefited from only free ration (21%) opted more for the Congress than the BJP. Hence, like in Uttar Pradesh, in Uttarakhand too merely the benefit of ration did not guarantee the BJP the votes. Cash transfers seem to have been more important and cash transfer along with free ration even more.