Which political party emerged as the strongest in 2021? Possibly, the answer to this question will have different answers from everyone. The reason lies in the roller coaster ride for political parties in 2021.
Interestingly, The government with an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha agreed to the demands laid by a peaceful and apolitical street protest. However, the protest was not widespread throughout the country. Furthermore, many major and minor political incidents took place in 2021 that can be influential in the new year.
The politics got heated up after the second wave of Covid-19 that took a toll on the healthcare resources. It kind of uncovered the lack of arrangements and preparation of the government. The results of Assembly Elections came under the shadows of rising Covid-19 cases. It reinstated the power of Mamta Banerjee and TMC in West Bengal. The left defeated Congress and ended the swing of power between Congress and the Left in Kerala. The BJP won Assam for the second consecutive time with a decent margin.
Assembly polls in key states of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, and other states in 2022, are bound to make a new political setup and disturb the existing political relations. The outcome will be vital for BJP and testify to the popularity of the Modi Factor. Congress will have to defend and fight to get a respectable number of seats in various states to boost its existence. At the same time, it will be important to see whether the regional parties will emerge stronger once again or not.
The political tensions among parties increased during 2021 and the new year began with the PM security breach incident. Nothing can be different in 2022 with the scheduled line of Assembly Elections. For now, there is an increasing threat of the third wave for Covid-19 that can further raise questions on the Preparation of government. Also, the government will give a frame to new plans for Jammu and Kashmir.
There are rising social tensions with debates on Hindutva and conversions. The government’s new law on electoral reforms and increasing the marriage age for girls shall widen the social debates.
Test for the popularity of Modi Factor:
The popularity of the PM will be tested once again for the BJP. The Modi factor has been the biggest support for BJP in the previous elections. There are major election issues like handling of the second wave for Covid-19, increase in fuel prices, and lack of employment opportunities for youth. Even the opposition got the chance to celebrate when the government took back the laws.
It’s not clear whether the popularity of the PM exists or if it has decreased over time. The Assembly poll results will be the first outcome that would give clarity on this aspect. In 2021, BJP retained power in Assam. However, it failed to win in the high-stake West Bengal.
Indeed, it emerged as the main opponent in the Assembly Polls. Still, the BJP failed to make a mark in the subsequent urban polls. It seems difficult for BJP to repeat its streak of historic wins of the 2014 and 2019 elections. The party could not perform well in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Except for Punjab, the outcome of UP, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur, Gujarat, and Himachal Pradesh will be vital for BJP. Particularly, the election results of Uttar Pradesh will be of high regard for the PM as well as for CM Yogi Adityanath. These elections will also set the stage and become an indicator for the 2024 elections.
Also, 2022 is more crucial with the Omicron variant. The government will have the big responsibility of ensuring that there is the containment of cases without hampering economic activity. Gradually, the Indian economy is coming back on track after the distress of the Pandemic. It will be a big challenge for the government to prepare for the threatening situation and ensure the upkeep of economic development.
Leadership for opposition:
The thumping victory of CM Mamata Banerjee-led TMC in West Bengal has been a significant political movement in 2021. Consequently, the rise of leaders like M.K Stalin in Tamil Nadu and the consecutive victory of Pinarayi Vijayan has brought forward a new trend. The regional parties are gradually gaining control in many states of India.
She now aims to get a national role in this context by possibly becoming a link between the United Opposition. The TMC has entered into Goa and Tripura politics. AAP is eyeing to enter into the political space of Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand, and Gujarat. These activities and its result will set the base for future politics.
The elections will play a big role in establishing a position of Congress among the opposition. It will be a chance to fight for existence and future growth for Badals, Mayawati, and Akhilesh Yadav. The farmers’ protests and security issues in Punjab have made the poll outcome unpredictable for the state. Specifically, after Captain Amarinder Singh resigned and partnered with BJP. If Congress won’t perform satisfactorily, it will have to accept a shorter role in the opposition camp.
Internal conflict in the Congress:
The Congress that dominated Indian politics for more than 60 years since India’s Independence. Now, its role has been restricted in the opposition. Its power in 15 states during 2003 has decreased to only 3 states and 1 among them will be going under polls this year. There is a concern for leadership in the party. The change in the party president scheduled in September will be a turning point. Congress did not perform well in 2021 and lost in Kerala, Assam, and West Bengal.
Things are different because Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has taken up the matters in her hand. She is rigorously campaigning for the UP elections. The elections will also testify to her Impact among the masses.
Hype for societal debates:
The issues of rising societal debates have given rise to new tensions. The hate speeches and anti-conversions debates are setting new social narratives in politics. After the alleged ‘Love Jihad law’, the new anti-conversion law of Karnataka is under the spotlight. Some incidents like sacrilege bids, lynching, and threats for radicalization can become intense. The sacrilege attempt will play an important role in Punjab politics. While increasing the age of marriage can give fuel to the old debate for a uniform civil code.
Delimitation issue for Jammu and Kashmir:
The Delimitation Commission in Jammu and Kashmir drafted 6 new constituencies for Jammu and 1 for Kashmir. This did go well with the regional parties because they found it as an opportunity for a power shift by the BJP government.
The Assembly Polls are very crucial for all the national and regional parties of these states. Some existing trends with alter and new shall be formed. Elections will testify to the preference of the voters and some extent the foreseeable future of the political parties and leaders.