In the last Assembly election Misbahaul Islam Laskar lost to Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Kishore Nath by just 42 votes—in 2021 he is again contesting—this time not as an independent but on a Congress ticket.

At Barkhola once again BJP has gone for a parachute candidate—Amalendu Das. In fact this is the tried and tested formula of saffron camp.

In 2016 too BJP applied this formula by roping in Kishore Nath—an unknown face at Barkhola. By riding on strong Modi wave Kishore sailed through.

However, this time the political equation has slightly changed. Few factors seemed to have gone in favour of Misbahul. Congress has stitched an alliance with All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF)—due to this alliance the Muslims have voted for grand alliance candidates en masse.

How far BJP will be able to hold on to its core Hindu vote bank, will be an interesting thing to look out for. Have the Hindus voted for BJP en block? Well, answer to this question lies in the womb of time. We will have to wait till May 2.

In each and every rally the yet to be dislodged chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal tried to win over the hearts of his voters by citing many people oriented schemes of his regime.

Now, the question arises—if he has done so much, why he can’t be sanguine about his victory. The hard reality is, this time the entire election has been fought on communal lines and undoubtedly this doesn’t augur well for a multi-religious and multi-ethnic country like India.

Coming back to Barkhola it needs to be mentioned here that this Assembly constituency falling under Cachar district is home to about 1.49 lakh voters. Around 85 thousand voters are Hindus and remaining 75 thousand votes are from Muslim community.

So, it’s obvious the contest is going to be a nail biting one. Well, it also needs to be stated here that by discarding ticket to Kishore BJP has taken a huge risk.

Murmurs from Muslim mohallas are being heard these days. They say Kishore did many things for them and the minorities too decided to reciprocate this gesture through their votes. Will their love remain same for Amalendu?

Instead of Kishore, BJP has picked Amalendu. Compared to Misbahul, Amalendu is a novice in the field of politics. This is his debut election whereas Misbahul is an old horse.

The strong Modi wave that was visible in 2016 can no longer be seen on the ground. Yes, it will have to be admitted that BJP has a well-oiled election management team who has mastered the art of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

This is Misbahul’s moment. If he fails to win this time, his political career will go into oblivion. If he can rise like a phoenix, history will remember him a battle hardened soldier.

Let’s also keep an eye on the voting pattern of Dolu tea estate. This estate was once considered to be a bastion of CPI(M). The leftists have lost their base over here. Earlier Congress dominated the tea belts—now BJP is a dominating political force over here.

On paper, Misbahul carries a secular image and enjoys a good rapport with the Hindus because before 2016 he did win from Barkhola.

Just a moment please. BJP tried to flare-up Congress—AIUDF alliance with an aim to consolidate the Hindu votes. If BJP succeeds in its game plan, Congress-led grand alliance will have to face a tough situation.

Both BJP and Congress are hopeful of their victory. The billion dollar question is—who will win finally. Really hard to predict— it’s like 50-50 situation for both BJP and Congress.

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