Demonetisation, the entry of the Aam Admi Party, Irom Sharmila and anti-incumbency are some of the key factors that would dominate the elections in the five states. Let us break down the factors and issues for you:
Demonetisation and the Samajwadi Party split are the two major issues in UP. Uttar Pradesh would be one state that would bear in mind the decision on demonetisation when it goes to polls.
The next issue is the SP split. The SP would be the biggest loser as a result of this split. It stands to lose its core vote bank including the 20 per cent Muslims in the state to the BSP.
While the feud has give state Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav a clean image, it is to be seen if the people would vote for him. Caste is a major player in UP. Will parties restrain from using this card during their election rallies? The Supreme Court had clearly said that caste, religion and language cannot be cited during the elections and if violated could lead to the disqualification of a candidate.
Caption: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and newly unanimously elected party's national president Akhilesh Yadav with his supporters during Samajwadi party national convention in Lucknow in this photograph taken on January 2. Photo credit: Nand Kumar/PTI
Drugs and anti-incumbency will be key issues during the Punjab elections. The sings of anti-incumbency was writ large during the 2014 general elections. The AAP had put up an impressive performance as a result of which they were enthused to contest the 2017 assembly polls. The AAP would be a major player and the Punjab polls is likely to be a three corner contest with the Congress and BJP-Akali combine.
Drugs are a major issue in Punjab. The ruling Akali Dal has often been accused of doing very little to curb this problem. The Congress and the APP have made it a poll issue and promise to wipe out the mafia. This would also be a major factor during the elections.
The other issue is of farmers' suicides. Punjab comes second after Maharashtra in the number of farmers' suicides. Several farmers have been pushed to take the extreme step. The allegations against the ruling dispensation is that the farmers were not provided enough aid.
Caption: Aam Aadmi Party National Convener and
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with AAP Punjab Convener
Gurpreet Guggi during a rally of upcoming Punjab assembly elections
2017 at Adampur in Jalandhar in this photograph taken on January
11. Photo credit: PTI
The Goa assembly elections will see the AAP making its debut. Political pundits say that it would not be right to write off the AAP. While this party would one factor, the bigger issue for the BJP is the RSS revolt. Former state head of the RSS, Subhash Velingkar had quit the organisation and announced an alliance with the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party. This alliance will contest in 37 out of the 40 constituencies and could affect the BJP.
Caption: Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar addressing BJP cadres at the party office at Panaji in Goa in this photograph taken on December 31, 2016. Photo credit: PTI
Uttarakhand saw a lot of political instability following a revolt against CM of the state Harish Rawat. This led to the imposition of President's Rule in the state, but the government was reinstated by the Supreme Court after two months. Will Rawat earn the sympathy vote or will issues such a corruption ruin his chances?
Caption: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat with Congress MP Pradeep Tamta during a press conference at party office in Dehradun in this photograph taken on January 9. Photo credit: PTI
The biggest factor in Manipur is that of anti-incumbency. The Congress has ruled this state for 15 years and the BJP would try to pull of an Assam in Manipur as well. While the BJP is training its guns in this state, pollsters point towards the decision by CM, Okram Ibobi Singh to carve out 8 new districts. This is likely to help the Congress retain Manipur.
The other factor is Irom Sharmila. After breaking her fast that lasted 16 years, she decided to come on to the poll stage and challenge none other than the CM himself. She is new to politics and political experts say that a win is unlikely. Her presence would once again raise the issue regarding the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
Caption: Irom Chanu Sharmila offers prayer at Kangla fort in Imphal, Manipur. Photograph: PTI