The battle lines are drawn for the Doda assembly segment. The seat is all set to witness triangular contest among the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the National Conference (NC) and the Congress here. A reality check, however, says that whosoever makes a people to people connect may emerge the winner.
Two coalition ministers are in the fray from the Congress and the National Conference, while Shakti Parihar from the BJP is heavily banking upon his connect with people, besides the Modi factor.
The incumbent public works department (PWD) minister and sitting MLA, Abdul Majid Wani, is the Congress candidate. The NC candidate and former coalition minister, Khalid Najib Suharwardy, who is also a member of the legislative council (MLC) is in the fray from here.
Meanwhile, Shakti Parihar of the BJP has put up a mighty show and filed the nomination papers accompanied by two central leaders --Avinash Rai Khanna and minister of state in prime minister’s office (PMO) Jitendra Singh.
Development will be an important issue here. While Doda gave two ministers to the coalition for past six years, the region still awaits any substantial development and the people are sore over it.
Further, in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had polled 18,500 votes in this assembly segment against the combined alliance of the NC-Cong which had got 35,000 votes together.
Doda has a total vote count of 83,000 which is heavily polarised between the two communities.
In parliamentary polls, nearly 71% votes were polled in the region which amounted to 58,930 votes.
In present the circumstance, when the Congress and the NC are at loggerheads and contesting separately, their prospects appear bleak.
The ratio between the Hindus and the Muslims in the region stands as 45:55.
Chief minister Omar Abdullah has not helped the prospects of his party by giving certain statements which have annoyed the people of the Jammu region, especially when the Doda seat comes under the Jammu province.
This has harmed the credibility of MLC and party candidate Najib Suhrawardy pitted in triangular contest.
The popularity of the Congress on the other hand is on the downward slide across the country, which may affect its prospects here.
The BJP that has already shown its worth in the Lok Sabha polls is well prepared to score brownie points here over its rivals, riding on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and communally-polarised voters.
Meanwhile, prime minister’s impending visits to the region before the first phase of polls can be the game changer.
Cong: Abdul Majid Wani
NC: Khalid Najib Suharwardy
BJP: Shakti Parihar
2008 assembly poll result
Abdul Majid Wani of Congress won with 23,254 votes while Khalid Najib Suharwardy of NC had 16,102 in his favour
main issue: Lack of basic development in the region
Total votes: 83,292
Polling date: November 25 (Phase 1)