Three reasons why 2022 polls in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Goa are pathbreaking

These elections are critical because they are a sharp departure from templates set for years. They may shape the future of India’s politics in some way

Abhijit Majumder January 09, 2022 18:57:05 IST
Three reasons why 2022 polls in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Goa are pathbreaking

Representational image. PTI

Politics is ever-changing, even in the most stubborn dictatorships or enduring monarchies. However, borrowing Alvin Toffler’s famous phrase, the ‘acceleration of change’ in Indian politics since 2014 has been giddy.

Early in 2022, we are witnessing at least three Indian states depart from their traditional politics and explore roads never taken. These trends could leave deep tyre-marks in national politics and give us a clue where the big bus is headed.

UP’s direct duel

Till even five years ago, Uttar Pradesh used to have a robust three-cornered fight, with Congress talking itself up, to be the semblance of a fourth force. This year it is different.

After 37 years, UP is likely to see a direct face-off between two dominant parties — the ruling BJP and the challenger SP. Till 1985, it used to be the Congress versus some form of the Janata Dal. From 1989 started the BJP’s fateful rise to power and beginning of the multi-cornered contests in UP.

This year, Mayawati seems like a much-weakened force. Her health is apparently not keeping well, and corruption cases add to that vulnerability. Dalits see the BJP as their safeguard against the Yadavs and Muslims, who dominate the turf every time SP is in power.

The Muslim vote will most likely consolidate behind Akhilesh Yadav’s SP, while a very small part of the vote may go to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra-led Congress. It won’t be too surprising if a chunk of young Muslim women silently vote for the BJP. The party enjoys their trust after outlawing instant triple talaq and drastically improving law and order.

It is not clear if the entry of Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM leaves a mark. Muslims may choose to consolidate behind Akhilesh instead of voting for the wildcard Owaisi.

The BJP has set its tested development-plus-Hindutva formula in motion. A convincing win will give the party a huge edge in the 2024 general elections and put Yogi Adityanath on a blazing career trajectory.

Punjab is a crowd

Punjab on the other hand used to be a Congress versus Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) fight till the AAP entered in 2017. Although the Congress won last time, AAP finished second ahead of the Badals’ Shiromani Akali Dal with 20 of the 117 seats. If, as some polls predict, AAP turns in a surprise win, it would drastically change the dynamics of the Opposition space. AAP would be one of the strongest claimants after Mamata Banerjee’s TMC to an Opposition leadership role. The Congress would further and painfully weaken.

Former Congress CM Captain Amarinder Singh’s party Punjab Lok Congress, in alliance with the BJP, may not have a big impact this election. But an angry and hurt Amarinder may cause critical damage to the Congress, especially Navjot Singh Sidhu. SAD is unlikely to recover from its image tarred by drugs and corruption.

The other trend to watch is how the Khalistan factor plays out in the border state. Khalistani groups in Canada, US, UK and Germany have been aggressively burning Pakistani secret service ISI’s money to build propaganda against India. Which party will they back? Or, who among these parties will cosy up to their cause the most, putting national security in danger. The massive lapse in the Prime Minister’s security last week underlines the reckless path Punjab has chosen.

Go, Goa, gone

Goa has new visitors. The tiny state’s politics has suddenly become a matter of heated national debates.

While AAP has been quietly working on the Goa electorate, TMC has plastered the town with Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek’s posters. But will that translate into votes and seats? If it does, it will be at the cost of the Congress, which stood a much greater chance if it were a direct fight with the BJP.

All three elections are critical because they are a sharp departure from templates set for years. They may shape the future of India’s politics in some way. February and March 2022 could be politically more important for India than we can foresee.

Read all the Latest NewsTrending NewsCricket NewsBollywood NewsIndia News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Updated Date:

also read

Punjab cops punched me, did not allow my son to wear his turban: Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga's father
India

Punjab cops punched me, did not allow my son to wear his turban: Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga's father

Preetpal Singh, who said a group of 10-15 Punjab Police personnel broke into their Janakpuri home, was accompanied by Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta when he went file an FIR.

Punjab court issues non-bailable arrest warrant against BJP leader Tajinder Bagga
Politics

Punjab court issues non-bailable arrest warrant against BJP leader Tajinder Bagga

On Friday, Bagga was arrested by Punjab Police from his home in Delhi, stopped in Haryana while being taken to Punjab, and brought back to the national capital by Delhi Police hours later

Tejasvi Surya meets Tajinder Bagga, says will fight AAP's strategy to file false cases against BJP workers
India

Tejasvi Surya meets Tajinder Bagga, says will fight AAP's strategy to file false cases against BJP workers

Tajinder Bagga was arrested by Punjab Police from his home here on Friday, stopped in Haryana while being taken to Punjab and brought back to the national capital by Delhi Police hours later