Despite the anti-incumbency factor, political analysts feel that if the BJP manages to hold on to the urban seats in Punjab it will certainly give the Akali Dal an edge, failing which the Congress may stay ahead.
Having realised the importance of a victory in Punjab, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi earlier announced Captain Amarinder Singh as the chief ministerial candidate. This was done to send in a message to all ranks that the race for chief ministership has ended and everyone is expected to try and bring back the party to power.
The announcement also gave a clear idea to the electorate as to who will become the chief minister if the party is voted to power.
The threat, however, also exists from Manpreet Badal, Punjab's former finance minister, who was dismissed from the Akali Dal. He has since formed the Punjab People's Party and may spring a surprise.
The Akali Dal has dumped its traditional religious issues and is trying to showcase development to attract votes. In turn, the Congress is pointing to incomplete infrastructure in the state and also alleged that the Akali Dal-BJP alliance has ignored the rural areas.
In Uttarakhand, where voting is on for 70 assembly seats, BJP leader and former state chief minister Ramesh Nishank Pokhriyal said after casting his vote, "The atmosphere is in favour of the BJP. All our candidates will win with big margins and we will make the next government."
The BJP is banking heavily on the deft managerial skills of current Chief Minister BC Khanduri after Pokhriyal was removed from office owing to corruption allegations.
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