The struggle for power in the hilly state, Uttarakhand will be put to an end on 15th February. The tickets for contesting the upcoming assembly election have been allotted by the parties and the ‘big’ game is set now. The 70-seat state was created in the year 2000, since then power has kept on swinging between BJP and Congress. These both parties have managed to become a major blocks of power since the formation of state. The entire state is divided between these two political outfits only, except in few assemblies like Haridwar and Udham Singh Nagar where BSP can be the third player.
The Uttarakhand Election is going to be interesting in one more sense and that is the independent candidates. The denial of tickets to top leaders of both the parties have forced the candidates to enter into the battle independently. Therefore, the election is going to be the test for the rebellions too. Recently, BJP expelled 18 rebels whereas Congress expelled 24 . In the year 2012, 12 sitting MLAs of Congress joined BJP.
In a series of opinion polls carried out by different organizations and media houses, it was clearly revealed that BJP will emerge as victorious in this head-to-head fight. India Today-Axis bank survey opined that BJP will be able to establish itself on 40-44 seats. On the same line, The Week- Hansa Research survey clearly revealed that BJP will enjoy majority by taking 37-39 seats and leaving only 27-29 for Congress. Lokniti-ABP survey stated that 35-43 will straightway be bagged by BJP whereas 22-30 will land in the hands of Congress.
In many opinion polls, CM Rawat still heads the list of most populous leader, though this lead is marginal. The state Congress is suffering from factionalism and the factor of anti-incumbency is high in the state, which justifies the findings of opinion polls of BJP sweeping the elections clearly.
The most interesting thing till now has been the way BJP has handled its election campaign in the state. “Atal ji ne bnaya, Modi ji Sawarenge”, “kya haal, kisaan badhaal”, “kya haal, suraksha badhaal” these are the slogans written on the large advertisement hoardings. The opinion polls clearly highlight that “Modi” sentiment is extremely high in the state. Statistics reveal that majority of the voters are voting for BJP due to Modi. Keeping this fact in mind that BJP has not announced its CM candidate for the state till now, the Modi factor becomes important for the party.
Earlier, party leader Amit Shah and PM Modi personally decided to handle the entire campaigning of the state. Shah also finalized the list of 40 star-leaders to participate in the campaigning of the state. On December 27 2016, Modi addressed a huge rally in Dehradun; February 4, Jaietly arrived in Dehradun to launch the vision document for the state and on February 10, Modi is scheduled to address a rally in Hardiwar.
The people of Uttarakhand supported the decision of demonetization too, revealed the opinion polls. This clearly shows that people of Uttarakhand are in no mood to see any color except saffron. Even the issues of development and unemployment, which have for a long time paralyzed the state, in the eyes of people will be better served by the BJP. In his visit to Dehradun, the Modi launched the Char Dham Highway project too. In such a scenario, the challenge for the current Rawat government becomes tough.
Its not like that only Uttarakhand has been under the grip of “Modi” sentiment, but the entire nation. Even in UP, people have been requested to accept “badlaav” (change) which will happen only if BJP government is voted to power. Same situation prevails for the state of Uttarakhand, entire election campaign has been driven till now in the name of Modi. In UP, the alliance between SP-Congress is being viewed as a strong political arrangement to tackle the growing Modi “lahar”. In Uttarkhand, such arrangement is missing. Congress government appears to be on the lose ground, as highlighted by these opinion polls too.
The pamphlet of every BJP candidate contesting the assembly election has been engineered very strategically in order to influence the minds of the people. As party is aware that Modi sentiment is high in the state, pamphlet in the front carries the information of the candidate accompanied with the “Kamal” (lotus, election symbol of BJP), whereas the back side of it displays a detailed table listing out the schemes and policies launched by the PM Modi. It often confuses you with the idea of which election is being contested, Parliament or assembly? But, this confusion is influencing people to vote for BJP in the name of Modi.
According to the opinion polls, among all the poll bound states, Uttarakhand is the one where BJP can easily manage for a clear majority. Thus, Modi and Amit Shah does not want to miss such a crucial political opportunity of sweeping the polls.
Author: Rishabh Shrivastava, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Analysis (TA).
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