December 27, 2011

On 24 Dec 2011, the Election Commission announced the dates for the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur which is none less than a mini-general election. Polling would begin on January 28 and end on March 3, 2012. The important issues at stake in these assembly elections

Assembly Elections 2012 UP

  • For Congress, a favourable scoreline, minimum 3-2 with evidence of revival in its fallen fort of UP, would deliver a decisive blow to Anna Hazare-induced inaction at the Centre while`silencing BJP which is on the right side of the septuagenarian campaigner. 
  • It is a challenge for Rahul Gandhi who is leading the charge in UP. A successful outcome in UP willl canonize him as party's new mascot and will put him under pressure to lead the government: something which he is averse to.
  • Congress chief Sonia Gandhi spelt out the significance of the polls when she told party's poll mangers that Team Anna must be countered electorally.
  • The pollscape seems favourable for Congress, with BJP on the backfoot in Uttarakhand and in Punjab. 
  • The smaller states of Uttarakhand and Goa are difficult to predict though Congress has a clear edge here.
  • For Congress, a failure would be disastrous, speeding up the downhill slide while reducing Manmohan Singh government into virtual lameduck with BJP on top. Worse, the succession plan for Rahul Gandhi in 2014 polls would be under a cloud.
  • Around 80,000 paramilitary personnel, apart from state policemen, are expected to be deployed during the polls. 
  • The highest number of paramilitary personnel is expected to be deployed in Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state with 403 assembly constituencies. 
  • Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa saw relatively less violence in the past elections. However, Manipur, which has been plagued by insurgency for a long time, may need heavy deployment of forces to ensure peaceful polling.

Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2012: Election Dates / Schedule, Candidates, Election Results

  • Polls in UP will be held in seven phases- February 4, 8, 11, 15, 19, 23 and 28. 
  • The results will be declared on March 4.
  • Currently BSP commands UP
  • Key Issues:
    • UP-2012 would be the marquee battle which would test the future of heir-apparents Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav and the fate of towering backward class champions in Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati.
    • Post-Babri, Congress appears on the margins of 'BSP vs SP' battle but is hopeful that Rahul's charge can pump its fortunes and lay the field it can work on to be serious claimant for 80 seats in 2014.
    • UP is being watched for how Mulayam squares up against the dalit czarina who swept him aside on May 11, 2007, to notch a rare majority in the jammed state politics.
    • Muslims could be the decider, SP's onetime pocketborough which deserted in 2009 polls to protest its tieup with onetime saffron mascot Kalyan Singh. While there are signs that Muslims could return to Samajwadi tent, Congress's full throttled entry with sops like job quota for the community threatens to play the spoiler. The rise of Muslim outfits like Peace Party is a new variable in the UP power matrix.
    • Mayawati starts with a solid base on paper but questions galore on how much of it remains intact after five years of questionable performance on fronts ranging from governance to corruption to social engineering. 
    • BJP is hoping that it can raise its modest tally on the back of reaction to Muslim quota and help from delimitation. Its considerations for revival in state are same as Congress's - as launchpad for Lok Sabha polls.
    • Year 2012 has the potential to reshape the post-Babri landscape because a weakened SP and BSP would mean a resurgent Congress on the prowl to wrest back Muslims, dalits and uppercastes who fled in reaction to Ayodhya campaign.

Uttarakhand Assembly Elections 2012: Election Dates / Schedule, Candidates, Election Results

Single-phase poll in Uttarakhand (January 30)

Goa Assembly Elections 2012: Election Dates / Schedule, Candidates, Election Results

  • Single-phase poll in Goa (March 3)

Manipur Assembly Elections 2012: Election Dates / Schedule, Candidates, Election Results

  • Single-phase poll in Manipur (January 28)

Punjab Assembly Elections 2012: Election Dates / Schedule, Candidates, Election Results

  • Single-phase poll in Punjab (January 30)

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