Assam forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya is contesting from Dholai and this time he is likely to face a tough challenge from his nearest Congress rival Kamakhya Prasad Mala.
Official statistics state that Dholai has 1.90 lakh voters. This time Dholai has registered 78 per cent polling. Approximately 1.48 voters have exercised their franchise.
Now, it will be extremely difficult to predict the outcome of this election at this moment and one needs to wait till May 2 to know the verdict.
In Dholai, the contest is going to be between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress. Both the parties are hopeful for victory. In fact, the leaders have already fixed dates for “victory lap”.
Parimal is heavily banking on votes from the tea workers community. Let’s also not forget that this time Congress has nominated a candidate from the tea community.
It’s a foregone conclusion that BJP is extremely confident of receiving support from tea belts. In the past five years the BJP government has offered many olive branches to the people living in tea belts.
However, there is a small twist in the tale. One will also have to borne in mind that there is a division among the workers of tea gardens.
The schemes of the incumbent Sarbananda Sonowal government are going to benefit only the ‘permanent staffers’ of various tea gardens.
Though Dholai has fewer tea belts under its belt, team Parimal is also tensed about this fact. This disgruntled lot may not opt for BJP in 2021.
If at all there is an iota of truth in this observation, Congress candidate Mala can make a major upset in the 2021 Assam election.
At the same time it also needs to be mentioned here that there is a sizeable population of Barman community at Dholai.
Though Parimal is trying to project himself as a next door man, in reality Congress has fielded a local candidate who many believe that this time he can wrest Dholai from the BJP.
Dholai is also home to around four thousand Manipuri families. The Hindu community stands at 83 thousand.
BJP has got a solid base at Narsingpur and Palonghat. But Parimal is facing a massive anti-incumbency wave at Borjalenka.
Dholai is a reserved constituency. Casteism is still a dominant factor for the Hindus. It’s being believed that Parimal doesn’t enjoy a good rapport with the caste Hindus—rather they accuse Parimal of not doing anything concrete for the all-round development of caste Hindus.
How far Congress has been able to use this opportunity in its favour, time alone can tell. In spite all these political calculations, it will have to be admitted that this time Congress is calling the shots and BJP is simply retorting to these ongoing political tidbits.
Dholai has earned the distinction of springing surprises. In 2011, Parimal lost to Congress’ Girindra Mullick by a margin of 15 thousand votes.
Certainly, it can’t be said that Dholai is the safest seat for Parimal. In 2016 there was an undercurrent for BJP across Barak Valley.
This wave is missing this time. Many top rung leaders of BJP, including Hindutva’s poster boy Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has also visited Barak Valley to bolster the fate of all nominated lawmakers from BJP.
BJP too knows it well that 2021 is going to be a litmus test for the party. If BJP succeeds in Assam, all speculations will be put to rest.
Team BJP is confident that lotus will surely bloom at Dholai. On the contrary, Congress leader Sushmita Dev says that they are confident of winning back Dholai this time.
This time BJP will have to walk the extra mile for victory. Certainly there will be no cake walk for the forest minister of Assam.