Opinion

Assembly Polls In 5 States : Over To The Voters Now To Decide Their Fate On #March 10

Image : Representational Purpose Only

The political slug- fest of 2022 which has already begun with parties reaching out to the people in the five states with their promises will now gather more steam . This is because the Election Commission has finally announced the poll dates of the five states – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur.

Uttar Pradesh to go to poll in 7 phases from 10th Feb to 7th March; Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa to vote on 14th February & Manipur to vote on 27th Feb & 3 March; Counting of votes on 10th March announced the Election Commission.

Elections will be held in 403 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh  in the seven phases from February 10 to March 7.

For Manipur’s 60 assembly constituencies, elections will held in two phases on February 27 and March 3, while polling in Goa (40 seats), Punjab (117 seats) and Uttarakhand (70 seats) will be held on February 14.

Now that poll dates are out the future of BJP Chief Ministers – Yogi Adityanath ( Uttar Pradesh), Biren Singh ( Manipur), Pramod Sawant ( Goa), Pushkar Singh Dhami ( Uttrakhand) and the long Congress Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi ( Punjab)  will be decided by the voters.

Here is quick look at how the parties are placed in the run- up to the polls :

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UTTAR PRADESH : Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made numerous visits to the state including his constituency Varanasi to woo the voters in crucial state that could well decide which way 2024 General Elections are going. After all  it is political axiom that the road to Delhi is through Uttar Pradesh.  BJP has been aggressively banking on Vikas narrative – Development with the launching and foundation laying stones of several projects worth several crores. The front page advertisement and 24X7 coverage of each of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit’s to Uttar Pradesh puts BJP in the pole position . And the large crowds too give the the exuberance. The year long farmer agitation and the subsequent repeal could be seen in the polls. What will worry the BJP is the inept handling of the Lakimpur Kheri incident involving MoS Home Ajay Mishra Teni. If the BJP suffers reverses the farmer’s stir and Mishra handling could well haunt them.

The main Challenge to the BJP is likely to come from the Samajwadi Party . Akhilesh Yadav has stitched an alliance with RLD led by Jayant Singh Chaudhary and has mended his ties with uncle Shivpal Yadav. Akhilesh is drawing huge crowds at the rallies. How much this translates into votes remains to be seen.

While The BJP has been quick off the block and the Samajwadi close on their heels in reaching out to the people. The Congress under General Secretary , Uttar Pradesh East, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is desperately trying to woo the voters. She is the face of the party’s campaign as seen by her pictures on the posters .   Congress is focussing  on women empowerment ( already announced that it will give 40 percent of tickets to women candidates)  and the campaign slogan – ‘Ladki HoonLad Sakti Hoon‘ (I’m a girl, I can fight). Will this gamble pay-off ? Remains to be seen.

Left out in the race in this battle it seems is BSP of former Chief Minister Mayawati. There is no buzz on the BSP as of now . If it remains this way then another electoral debacle would men political oblivion for the party and Behenji.

Picture : Twitter / ANI

PUNJAB :  The sudden exit from the Congress party of seasoned Capt Amarinder Singh as Chief Chief Minister has opened up the Punjab polls. The Captain Amarinder then stunned political pundits by forming an alliance of his party Punjab Lok Congress   , BJP and  Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt). The three- party alliance will come out with a joint manifesto. The farmer’s agitation will be key issue.

The state will witness a multi polar contest now with – Shiromani Akali , BJP, Congress, Punjab Lok Congress, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt). However Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ‘s AAP could be surprise element in the polls . AAP has generated the buzz in the state . The win the Chandigarh civic polls has given them the confidence.

Put into the hot seat  as a the Dalit face, Charanjit Singh Channi the incumbent Congress Chief Minister  in place of Capt Amarinder Singh, Channi has his task cut out. With ambitious PCC Chief Navjot Sidhu whose comments have often left the party red- faced. Channi has gigantic task of keeping the party united. He is facing the heat  for his inept handling of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ferozepur Rally which was called off due to security breach.

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UTTARAKHAND : The BJP ahead of the polls has made changes at the top . The  45 year-old unknown Pushkar Singh Dhami  was chosen to replace Tirath Singh Rawat. And before that Trivendra Singh Rawat resigned . So,  three chief ministers in space of 4 months. Does it mean BJP is wary of the electorate or is nervous of anti- incumbency. The BJP has the tradition of changing the face of the chief minister in the state every time in the election year. At the time of the formation of the state (2000), Nityanand Swami was made the Chief Minister, but as soon as just before the assembly elections in 2001, Bhagat Singh Koshyari was made the CM and the party lost the election.

In 2007, Major General Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri was made the CM but after 2009’s Lok Sabha election results, he was replaced by Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank. Before elections, Pokhriyal was again replaced by Khanduri and the BJP lost the election.

So going by history of BJP and its Chief Minister’s Pushkar Singh Dhami will need a miracle if he is to return to office. BJP’s rival Congress is in dire straits . Senior party leader Harish Rawat has been been placated by the Congress High Command but that does not brush under the carpet the simmering tensions withing the  Congress camp.

Picture : Twitter / ANI

GOA : BJP Chief Minister Pramod Sawant faces  an acid test this time. As recent reports suggest the Trinamool Congress Of Mamata Banerjee is keen to make its impact in the state. And is trying hard to stitch  a Grand alliance  to take on the BJP.  The tweet by TMC’s  Goa in- charge, Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra has sparked off the buzz. “Rest assured, we the AITC will do everything possible to defeat BJP in Goa- @Goaforwardparty, @INCGoa @AITC4Goa and #MGP. @Mamataofficial (AITC chairperson Mamata Banerjee) has done it in the past & will not shy away from walking [the] extra mile in Goa too,” Moitra tweeted . The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Forward party

Interestingly Moitra also tagged the Congress , the very party Mamata Banerjee lashed out with no UPA jibe and the Congress miffed with TMC for it’s several party leaders jumping the ship and joining the TMC. So will be it BJP vs All in Goa remains to be seen.

Picture : Twitter / ANI

MANIPUR : Like in other states BJP too has laid out the developmental agenda as the party’s plank in the polls. And Manipur is no different. Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit  had accused the previous governments in New Delhi of neglecting the Northeast, as he launched a raft of development projects ahead of the assembly elections due in the state early next year. The Northeast will become the driver of India’s growth story, he said, after dedicating to the nation and laying the foundation stone for 22 development projects worth Rs 4,815 crore in Manipur. BJP CM N Biren Singh is exuding confidence. Onus on Opposition Congress to prove him wrong.

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