Assembly Elections In Key States In 2022 Will Set The Tone For 2024

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With legislative assembly elections due in five crucial states in the first half of 2022, it is safe to assume that 2022 will be the year that will set the tone for 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Opposition will have to meet a number of challenges in 2022. In a way, 2022 will be the precursor to 2024.

The five states scheduled to go for assembly polls are Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa and Punjab where all political parties are focussing their energies. In the first four States, the BJP is in power while Punjab is ruled by a Congress government. The assembly elections will put to test the strategy and election machinery of the BJP while the Congress will have to prove itself that it is the glue that will bind the opposition parties together if the combine opposition wants to be in a position to challenge the BJP at the Centre.

Towards the end of the second half of 2022, assembly elections are slated to be held in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. Both the states are ruled by the BJP governments. The results of these assembly elections have the potential to alter the political narrative and help in emergence of new political equations.

PM Modi remains the dominant factor

For the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains the face to bank upon who is capable of assuring a rich harvest in the electoral tussle in the state elections. PM Modi’s popularity and political skills will be on test in these assembly elections. For the BJP, assembly polls in U.P. are the most crucial as it will make all out efforts to retain the power in India’s most populous State. It has high stakes attached as PM Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi is located in Purvanchal or the Eastern belt of the state.

In the northern state of Punjab, the BJP is all set to formalise the alliance with former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s newly formed party. Punjab and Uttar Pradesh results will also determine if there was any political fallout of year-long protest by farmers who were up in arms against three contentious farm laws which were brought in by the Centre. In November, PM Modi took a stunning decision of repealing the three farm laws and the promise was kept as soon as the Winter Session of Parliament began in the last week of November.

EC to decide on poll schedule

All eyes are riveted on Election Commission which will have to take a call in early January 2022 on deciding upon the schedule assembly polls in the five states as India is witnessing a surge in Omicron variant of Coronavirus. PM Modi has made several trips to the poll bound U.P. and Uttarakhand and has either inaugurated or laid foundation stones of a slew of development projects. He has kept the command of communication with the people in his own hands as he recently announced the government measures to tackle rising Omicron cases. It will be crucial to watch how the Centre fares in meeting the challenge of Omicrons cases.

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In 2021, the BJP could not cope up with the challenge mounted by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee who retained power in West Bengal in keenly contested assembly polls in 2021 summer. Though the BJP emerged as the principal opposition party in the state assembly, it is Mamata Banerjee who has emerged as a rallying figure for the opposition. Since then, she has made visits to Delhi and Mumbai to work out synergy with the opposition parties. Her victory in West Bengal was a defining moment on the political landscape of the country.

ALSO READ: UP Polls: All Political Parties Want Elections To Be Conducted On Time, Says EC

Similarly, 2021 saw the emergence of M K Stalin of DMK party who wrested power in Tamil Nadu and Pinarayi Vijayan who retained power for the Left for the second successive term for the first time in Kerala. Surely, the BJP does not have much at stake in these Southern states but the party rules Karnataka.

In July-August 2022, terms of the President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu will be getting over. The strength in the state assemblies will be a crucial factor in deciding the fate of the candidates for the two top posts in the country.

Covid management, shrill campaigns, farm laws are all set to appear prominently on the political chessboard of the country in 2022 – the year that will be a precursor to the 2024 general elections.

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