Himachal Pradesh Election 2022: India recently saw a series of elections, where the Bhartiya Janata Party had wrested power in four out of five states that went into polls, with Uttar Pradesh’s victory being the most talked about. After a halt of almost six months, the Great Indian Election Season has begun with the announcement of poll dates for Himachal Pradesh.
Himachal marks the beginning of Election Season
In the next 18 months, seven states – Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan and Telangana will go into polls, finally culminating into the parliamentary elections in 2024.
The states hold supreme importance and it will pave the way to the general elections and will also signal about the winner as these states together represent one fourth of the country’s population. With the rest of the states being a BJP stronghold, there will be a bipolar contest in three states Himachal Pradesh, Telangana and Rajasthan.
BJP has already launched its initiatives and is all set to decimate KCR in Telangana. BJP will win Rajasthan and Himachal but narrowly. While there is time for Rajasthan elections, and equations might change till then seeing the anti-incumbency against Ashok Gehlot. But, Himachal Pradesh Election 2022 will not be a tough battle for the saffron party and will deliver strong lessons.
The political equations in Himachal Election 2022
The hilly state will cast its vote on November 12 for the 68 membered assembly. Since 2017, the BJP has been governing after it snatched Himachal from the Congress following an aggressive campaign. The last assembly election was viewed as a power tussle between the then sitting CM Virbhadra Singh and BJP’s CM candidate Jai Ram Thakur.
In a way, the people of Himachal kept their anti- establishment convention. However, the results suggest that the voting was driven highly by anti-incumbency against Singh as Congress was reduced to 21 seats from 36 in 2012.
Himachal Pradesh is rather a complex state as compared to others as the size is small with a very high literacy rate.
The issues have also evolved with time. Earlier, the issues of elections happened to be old and new Himachal, caste patterns, among others. Now, the electorate largely banks around the issue of governance, development, and employment. This is what acted as a trump card for the BJP in the last elections.
How BJP plans to enter into the elections?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi sounded the poll bugle on the occasion of Dussehra as he attended the Kullu Dussehra festival, being the first PM to do so. The Prime Minister unleashed a scathing attack on Congress for its step motherly treatment with the hilly state that has led to the lopsided development of India.
The PM also inaugurated AIIMS Bilaspur and talked about turning Himachal into a medical hub. This clearly signaled that just like 2017, BJP will enter the polls with the issue of growth and development.
Further BJP eyes the women voters in the state, this might be the reason behind PM Modi pointing out the welfare schemes launched for women. PM had said, “More than 50% beneficiaries of the Ayushman Bharat (the government’s health insurance scheme) are women and similarly Swachh Bharat Yojana, Ujjwala, Matruvandana, free sanitary pads scheme and Har Ghar Jal Abhiyan have empowered women,” adding on the issue of improved law and order.
Growth, Infrastructure development, law and order and employment opportunities with BJP plans to enter the polls.
Ailing Congress- An edge to the BJP
The Congress after remaining out of power for the last 5 years has failed to turn out any issue as per their political narrative and have been totally subjugated by the saffron party. The grand old Congress party has been marred with factionalism, and Congress had failed to even publish its first list of candidates.
This clearly indicates how the Congress Delhi leadership fears an open rebellion. The high ranks of the party have been lobbying in Delhi for tickets. There are clear factions with leaders like state party chief Pratibha Singh, leader of opposition Mukesh Agnihotri and head of campaign panel Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu.
While the factions among the party are drifting apart and denial of ticket can be the fracture point. This time, as the Gandhi scion is busy with his rally, Priyanka Vadra has taken upon herself to deliver one more disaster after Uttar Pradesh. Vadra is copy pasting her UP agenda with pension, Rs 1500 to women among others.
With factions among the party, lack of the supreme leader who could guide, and Congress’ persistent betting on the legacy of Veerbhadra Singh, the party was not able to develop the second line of leadership in decades.
The BJP has already began the carpet bombing with back to back rallies of its top brass and is in the mode of ‘Mission Repeat’. However, there are challenges as the biggest one is the selection of the CM face. Although Thakur has served huge bait in the last elections, anti-incumbency against him has been registered. And to add on, without a regional face upon which the people cannot bank their trust, PM Modi’s stature cannot came to saviour in every state.
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