Less than a week to polls, Bihar's election commission has found that 80 per cent of voters in Bihar do not see taking money or gifts to vote for a particular candidate as wrong.
According to a survey commissioned by the office of Bihar's chief electoral officer (CEO), from a sample size of around 4,500, only 20 per cent voters thought that it was wrong to be influenced by money, gifts or favours for casting a vote for a particular political party or candidate, said a report in The Times of India.
"It is a standard practice to find out the voting pattern and voters' behaviour so that we can use the findings as inputs to improve our voter awareness activities," said Bihar's additional CEO R Lakshmanan.
Perturbed by the survey and its findings, the Bihar election department has started a special campaign to promote ethical voting in the upcoming assembly elections as well as improving overall voting percentage. Poster, banners, advertisements in print, as well as jingles on radio have been put up as a means to the end.
"It is a challenge. Our focus is to tell the electors not just to exercise their franchise, but to vote without being lured by any promise or gratification," Lakshmanan told TOI.
Only 52 per cent of Bihar's eligible voters turned up to vote in the November 2010 assembly polls, while it was slightly up at around 56 per cent in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
The survey commissioned by the CEO office to assess voting behaviour was conducted by Chandragupt Institute of Management, Patna (CIMP) in June-July 2015.
Earlier, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), which had prepared a report through the candidates' affidavits obtained from Election Commission (ECI) website, said 170 candidates have criminal cases against them while 130, contesting from 37 seats had been booked for serious non-bailable offences.