General Assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, Puducherry: highlights | India News
NEW DELHI: The results of the assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry They came out on Sunday after more than a month of hectic campaign that took place in the shadow of a Covid-19 pandemic.
This is all you need to know to understand the elections:
West Bengal has a total of 294 seats in the assembly, of which two did not go to the polls due to the death of two candidates before the seventh phase. Voting in these two seats will take place on May 16.
In other words, the magic number that a party or alliance needs to form a government is 147.
The voting was divided into eight phases, the longest electoral exercise in the state’s history, and the last round concluded on April 29.
The vote was rocked by political violence, which is unprecedented in the politically volatile state. However, it was the Covid-19 pandemic that dominated this year’s election season. The large-scale political campaign in the state, reporting an increase in cases like the rest of India, came under heavy criticism due to failure to adhere to appropriate Covid regulations.
The state recorded an overall voter turnout of 81.87%, down from the 83% recorded in 2016.
This year, the contest in the state was mainly between the ruler Trinamool Congress and the BJP.
The TMC, led by the Prime Minister Mamata banerjee, has been in power since 2011.
The BJP, long a fringe player in Bengal, has now taken center stage following an upbeat performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the fading footprint of the once powerful left-wing alliance.
An alliance between the left led by the PCM, Congress and the Indian Secular Front is also in the fray. However, the alliance is not seen as a significant challenge in 2021.
The exit polls were divided on the outcome of the elections, with some of them predicting a hung assembly and others giving an advantage to the TMC or the BJP.
A poll of nine exit polls shows that the state could be heading toward a fractured mandate. According to the aggregate, the TMC would take 141 seats while the BJP 138. The left-wing alliance will be in a distant third place with only 13 seats.
Whether the predictions are true or not, it appears the state is headed for a close contest.
Voting was carried out for 234 Tamil Nadu assembly constituencies in a single phase on April 6.
The voting was largely peaceful, except for a few sporadic incidents of violence.
A party has to secure at least 118 seats to form the government in the state.
This year’s elections were marked by the absence of the two deceased Dravidian stalwarts J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi.
The state recorded an overall voter turnout of 72.81%, down from the 74.81% recorded in 2016.
DMK and AIADMK are the two main rivals in Tamil Nadu politics and the 2021 contest was dominated by them.
The DMK is headed by the son of former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, MK Stalin, while the AIADMK is headed by incumbent CM K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam.
Congress and the BJP, both with limited political presence in the state, are in alliance with DMK and AIADMK respectively. Both Congress and BJP are junior partners in the alliance.
Two other fronts, AMMK led by TTV Dhinakaran and MNM led by actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan, were also in the fray this year.
In 2016, AIADMK proved most exit polls wrong after retaining power in the state traditionally known not to reelect the ruling government.
Exit polls have unanimously predicted a landslide victory for DMK in the state.
A poll of five exit polls predicts 174 seats for the DMK and 56 for the ruling AIADMK.
If the predictions come true, AIADMK will not be able to win a historic third consecutive term in the state.
Elections for the 140 constituencies in the southern state were also held in a single phase on April 6.
The two main alliances will be targeting the majority mark of 71 to be able to form a government in the state.
The elections were largely peaceful except for minor skirmishes and allegations of false voting reported from some locations.
The state posted an overall voter turnout of 74.57%, nearly 3 percentage points less than the turnout in 2016.
Kerala is historically known for the bitter rivalry between the two main fronts, the CPM-led Democratic Left Front (UDF) and the Congress-led United Democratic Front.
This year too, the contest is mainly between LDF and UDF.
The BJP is also confident of getting more seats this time from the only seat, Nemom, which won in 2016.
Exit polls have unanimously predicted that Pinarayi Vijayan will remain prime minister, as his LDF would ensure a comfortable election victory.
A poll of five exit polls predicted 88 seats for the ruling LDF and 51 for the UDF.
The victory of either alliance would mark an important moment in Kerala politics.
An LDF victory would be rare in Kerala, as the state has had a history of toppling the ruling alliance for the past 40 years.
On the other hand, a loss of the LDF would be a major setback for communism in India, as Kerala is the only state where the left is in power.
Assam has a total of 126 seats that went to the polls in three phases.
A party or an alliance has to secure at least 64 seats to form a government in the state.
A major controversy erupted this year when the Election Commission ordered an electoral college in Ratabari to be called back after it was reported that an EVM was being transported in a private vehicle belonging to a BJP candidate.
Aside from this, the voting was largely peaceful, save for sporadic incidents of violence and reports of EVM malfunctions.
The state witnessed an overall turnout of 82.04%, 2% less than 84.72% in the previous elections.
The contest in Assam is primarily between the ruling NDA led by the BJP and the rival UPA front led by Congress.
Unlike the previous elections, this year’s BJP-led NDA comprises only two other parties: Asom Gana Parishad and UPPL.
The BJP’s key ally, the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), resigned from the NDA before the election to join the congressional-led front.
Congress is participating in the elections in alliance with Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), the Bodo Popular Front and three left-wing parties.
All exit polls have predicted that the NDA will retain power in the state this year.
A poll of four exit polls gave the NDA 73 seats and the UPA 52.
Puducherry is a territory of the Union which is entitled, by a special constitutional amendment, to have an elected legislative assembly and a cabinet of ministers.
It has 30 seats in the assembly in total and the winner of the elections must secure the magic number of 16 to form the government.
Puducherry voted in a single phase on April 6 and the voting was mostly peaceful except for a few minor fights.
The UT witnessed an electoral turnout of 81.88% this year, which was a drop of 3.22% in percentage points compared to the previous assembly elections.
Like Assam, the main competition here is between the NDA and the UPA. The NDA comprises All India NR Congress, BJP and AIADMK, while the UPA comprises DMK and Congress.
Puducherry captured national attention just weeks before the assembly elections after the ruling UPA was hit by a series of defections. This led to a floor test on the assembly, which the UPA lost.
Since then, the UT has been under the President’s Rule.
This year, the NDA is competing to return to the state under the leadership of the AINRC led by former Chief Minister N Rangaswamy.
Former Prime Minister V Narayanaswamy, who lost power just before the elections, did not participate this year.
All exit polls have predicted a clear victory for the NDA.
A poll of three exit polls predicted 21 seats for the NDA and only 9 for the UPA.