The availability of welfare schemes can play a crucial role in determining the outcome of elections, as some segments of voters are generally known to support political parties that provide them with access to essential amenities and social welfare benefits. The government’s provision of welfare schemes, such as employment opportunities, healthcare, and housing, has been well-received by the people of Tripura, and this has contributed to the BJP-IPFT government’s success in the recent elections. It appears as if the voter’s expectation of receiving continued support and assistance has given the alliance a second term.
According to the post-poll survey conducted by the Lokniti-CSDS, a majority of voters in Tripura have benefited from the MNREGA scheme, with close to six out of ten voters (59%) saying that they have benefited from it. The State has received much praise in the past for implementing the scheme in a transparent manner. Employment and public housing programmes that have supported poverty alleviation and helped rehabilitate people, have been popular in many areas of Tripura. The data shows that almost three out of ten people (29%) benefited from the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, while another 30% were beneficiaries of the Ayushman Bharat scheme. Close to two in ten (19%) also benefited from the Ujjwala Yojana. Surprisingly, more than half of the voters did not benefit from the Central government schemes (other than MNREGA), despite their popularity (Table 1).
It is worth noting that among voters who received benefits from the State government schemes, a majority benefited from the housing scheme (16%), State assistance scheme for the poor (10%), and pre-matric scholarship (10%). For other State schemes, such as the Mukhyamantri Matru Pushti Uphaar scheme that provides nutritional kits for infants and lactating women (5%), Tripura Mukhyamantri Yuba Yogayog Yojana that offers remuneration to undergraduate students (3%), Tripura Kishori Suchita Abhiyan that distributes sanitary napkins to school girls (3%), and Angan Ban Prakalpa that ensures productive use of waste and fallow land (3%), the proportion of beneficiaries falls below 5%. Intriguingly, a significant proportion of voters did not benefit from any of the State welfare scheme at all (Table 2).
In summary, the availability of welfare schemes has been a contributing factor to the success of the BJP-IPFT government in Tripura. Despite the limited reach of some State welfare schemes, it is possible that beneficiaries have credited the State government for the popular Central government welfare schemes, particularly when they voted the current government into power. There is now heightened expectations which faces the BJP-led alliance in its second term.
Devesh Kumar is researcher at Lokniti-CSDS & Ashutosh Kumar Tiwari is Ph.D. scholar at Department of Political Science, Tripura University, Agartala