If all goes well, the BJP may just cruise through in three out of the five states set to go to polls next month. The saffron party is predicted to notch up comfortable victories in Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur despite a challenge from TMC and AAP in the coastal state, CNN-News18’s ‘poll of polls’ showed on Friday.
There are a total of 170 seats combined in the three states — 40 seats in Goa, 70 in Uttarakhand and 60 in Manipur. The halfway mark for Goa is 21, while it is 36 for Uttarakhand and 31 for Manipur.
WILL CM MAMATA RESONATE WITH GOA OR AAP EMERGE AS BIGGER CHALLENGE?
Among the three states, the critical contest for the BJP is in the coastal state of Goa where it has been in power since the 2012 assembly elections. Helmed by chief minister Pramod Sawant, the BJP is being predicted to cruise through with a majority vote this time too. But not if AAP and TMC have something to do with it.
If the AAP manages to defeat the ruling parties in Goa and Punjab, then it could emerge as a national party. The TMC, too, has launched an intensive campaign in the state in collaboration with political strategist Prashant Kishor. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her work in her own state is the focal point of the TMC’s campaign with undertones of projecting her as the face of the opposition against Narendra Modi-led BJP.
The major issue, however, has emerged even as the BJP is denying tickets to heavyweights in Goa politics. It also needs to put more of its imprint in South Goa, which is always a tough contest for the party. The election seems to be headed to become a contest between independents. The most prominent face among them is Utpal Parrikar, who quit the BJP to contest as an independent from Panaji.
ABP NEWS-C VOTER: BJP 19-23, Congress 4-8, AAP 5-9, Others 4-8
INDIA AHEAD-ETG: BJP 20-22, Congress 7-9, AAP 6-8, Others 3-5
REPUBLIC-P MARQ: BJP 16-20, Congress 9-13, AAP 4-8, Others 1-5
NEWSX-POLSTRAT: BJP 20-22, Congress 4-6, AAP 5-7, Others 7-9
TIMES NOW-VETO: BJP 17-21, Congress 4-6, AAP 8-11, Others 3-5
INDIA NEWS-JAN KI BAAT: BJP 18-22, Congress 5-6, AAP 7-9, Others 5-8
Chief minister Pramod Sawant said, “I welcome opinion polls which shows 18 to 22 seats to the BJP. This is also the ground reality and I have been saying this from beginning that in 2022, we will win with 22 seats.”
Talking about the so-called rebellion by leaders who were denied tickets, Sawant said, “It’s not an issue. We have taken a democratic decision within the party. I am sure that the people of Goa will work to bring the BJP back to power.”
He, however, admitted that South Goa was a tough spot for the BJP. “South Goa gives us tough competition, but the double engine government’s work has made me confident that we will get some more seats in the south.” He also said the votes to the BJP will not be splintered due to strong opposition parties in contention.
“The BJP is reaping the benefits of its work in Goa for the past 10 years, the opposition vote will not affect us,” he added.
The Goa assembly elections will be conducted on February 14 in a single phase with the counting of votes on March 10.
Battle for the hill states
Uttarakhand, the state known as the “home of temples” and “Hindu aastha”, will also see the BJP attaining a comfortable win, as per pollsters. Incumbent Pushkar Singh Dhami is the youngest ever CM of the state, on whom rests the BJP’s hopes of a win. Pollsters have said the BJP should cross the halfway mark comfortably despite the jarring fact that the party has thrice changed the CM of the state over the past year.
According to pollsters, the AAP does not seem to be making inroads in the state as they were hoping to. While the BJP may comfortably win in urban pockets such as Haridwar and Nainital, the real challenge for the party lies in non-urban areas of the hill state. These are the far-flung and remote pockets where people are dependent on tourism. The sector has been severely been hit by lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Reflecting on the opinion polls, Dhami said, “The people of Uttarakhand have blessed us. We have brought a lot of development in every sector, including infrastructure like roads and connectivity as well as health. We have done a a lot of work in remote areas as well, so I am confident that we will win again this time.”
ABP NEWS-C VOTER: BJP 31-37, Congress 30-36, AAP 2-4
INDIA AHEAD-ETG: BJP 46-50, Congress 16-20, AAP 1-3
REPUBLIC-P MARQ: BJP 36-42, Congress 25-31, AAP 0-2
NEWSX-POLSTRAT: BJP 36-41, Congress 25-30, AAP 2-4
TIMES NOW-VETO: BJP 44-50, Congress 12-15, AAP 5-8
ZEE-DESIGNBOXED: BJP 31-35, Congress 33-37, AAP 0-2
INDIA NEWS-JAN KI BAAT: BJP 34-38, Congress 24-33, AAP 2-6
In Manipur, too, the BJP is looking forward to a comfortable win. This may set the tone of what is coming for the Northeast. While one pollster gives a clear majority to BJP, the other says it could be hung.
ABP NEWS-C VOTER: BJP 23-27, Congress 22-26, NPF 2-6, Others 5-9
REPUBLIC-P MARQ: BJP 31-37, Congress 13-19, NPF 3-9, Others 0-2