The heat is on for 5 Indian states going to assembly elections in February/March 2022. Until March 10, there is going to be a great amount of campaigning, heated debates, and dramas. Moreover, we will get to see an enormous amount of social media posts and ads on different platforms as mass campaigning is restricted by the Election Commission.
While the overall perception is BJP versus Congress in most of these states, the leaders who led both the parties regionally are not the same. We have new faces who are now in a do or die situation. Right from the new Congress CM in Punjab to BJP’s Biren Singh in Manipur, here are few leaders who emerged in the recent past as a force to reckon with.
Pramod Sawant – Goa
After the demise of BJP leader Manohar Parrikar, Pramod Sawant, the two time Sanquelim MLA was chosen to become the Chief Minister of the state. Goa is a state where BJP and Congress have a direct fight. In Goa, the saffron party always had the winning edge over its ultimate.
Yet, for Pramod Sawant it is going to be a tough battle. Because, until 2019, the party flew high with the popularity of Manohar Parrikar. However, we are not sure as the opinion polls are predicting a thin victory margin for BJP in the state.
Charanjit Singh Channi – Punjab
Amarinder Singh is the reason why Congress won in Punjab even after Operation Blue Star. However, due to internal conflicts with Navjot Singh Sidhu, Amarinder Singh chose to leave Congress. Post that, the party high command was trying to choose a strong candidate as the Chief Minister.
After evaluating several leaders, they chose Charanjit Singh Channi, a Dalit leader in the state. Congress’ strategy to choose a Dalit leader in itself is a masterstroke as the grand old party seems appeasing the 31 percent Dalit vote bank seamlessly.
Initially, political pundits said that Channi is an apprentice Chief Minister to Siddhu. However, after the PM Modi Security Breach, the anti-BJP wave turned its sympathetic attention to Channi. In addition to this, Congress top leaders are continuously voicing their support to him. Hence, Channi is already a contender. His dalit card is all set to attract more attention to the grand old party in the state. In all ways, Channi is a choice not only for the party, but also for a section of people in Punjab.
Yet, we will have to see the strategy put forward by Captain Amarinder Singh, who might emerge as a kingmaker in the state. In addition to that, Aam Aadmi Party emerging as a leading contender is something to note.
N Biren Singh – Manipur
In 2017, none could believe that BJP made massive inroads into the North Eastern State of Manipur. Even though, it had only 21 seats, the party was quick enough to form a government with a massive coalition support.
Now, fast forward to 2022, the situation looks rosy for BJP in the state. Opinion Polls are predicting 40 to 45 for the saffron party in the upcoming Manipur Assembly Elections. Even then, until the result day, we cannot presume anything. Election Commission is restricting Campaigning with mass numbers.
We are not sure if Manipur has the internet infrastructure in all regions equally for all parties to spend. If not for social media, newspapers and Radios will be the battle ground for all political parties.
Pushkar Singh Dhami – Uttarakhand
Trivendra Singh Rawat gets the credit for BJP winning 57 seats in Uttarakhand in 2017. Congress is a direct contender here too. And Congress Leader Harish Rawat is someone with a larger support base than his BJP counterparts. Yet, the BJP leader ensured a sizable victory for the party in the state.
Ironically, due to dissent with the MLAs and other factors, BJP high command asked Rawat to step down. And, the party chose Tirath Singh Rawat, a sitting Lok Sabha MP to become the Chief Minister. However, he also resigned and finally, Pushkar Singh Dhami became the Chief Minister.
The recent opinion polls consider Dhami as the frontrunner and the most preferred choice of Chief Minister over others. Yet, the contest looks closer and tough. Harish Rawat is still a strong contender in the state. Will Dhami be able to repeat the 2017 numbers? Let us wait and watch. However, even if BJP emerges as the single largest party in these elections with a marginal majority, Dhami’s work is half done.