Clear mandate in five States

Clear mandate in five States

May 2, 2021
  • TMC retains West Bengal 
  • DMK storms Tamil Nadu 
  • Left in Kerala; BJP in Assam 
  • AINRC in Puducherry 

New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress looks set to win a third term, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) is heading for victory in Tamil Nadu, the Bharatiya Janata Party is leading in Assam and the LDF (Left Democratic Front) in Kerala and All India N.R. Congress (AINRC) of former Chief Minister N. Rangaswamy is taking a lead in Puducherry in the counting of votes that began this morning for Assembly polls in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam  and Puducherry. 

In Kerala, the Pinarayai Vijayan Government is set to create history by becoming the first Government to fight incumbency and retain power. 

Counting began simultaneously in all States at 8 am and early trends indicated a decisive victory. M.K. Stalin-led DMK is all set to return to power in Tamil Nadu after 10 long years as trends continued to indicate a clear edge for the DMK combine over the ruling AIADMK front. Victory in 118 of the total 234 Constituencies will ensure a simple majority.

A key pointer in the trends available so far is that there is no distinct wave in favour of the DMK and that the AIADMK continued as a force to be reckoned with despite the burden of 10-year anti-incumbency. The exit polls had projected anywhere between 160 and 190 seats for the DMK front.

Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has crossed the half-way mark in early leads in Bengal and is leading in 204 seats, though the BJP seems to have made gains since the 2019 national elections. The Chief Minister’s Trinamool and the BJP ran a bitter, no holds barred campaign that defied COVID safety rules as well as the poll code. 

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However, the Chief Minister herself is trailing in Nandigram according to early trends. Mamata is contesting against the BJP’s Suvendhu Adhikari, her ex-aide, whose December defection triggered a flood of exits from the Trinamool Congress. 

In Assam, the BJP is leading in 81 of the 126 seats, far ahead of its nearest rival Congress, which campaigned hard to reclaim its one-time bastion. In Kerala, the incumbent LDF is leading in 88 of the 140 seats and seems to be on its way to buck a 40-year tradition is the trend continues. The Congress-led UDF is leading in 47 seats.

In Puducherry, the N. Rangaswamy’s AINRC-led alliance – of which the BJP is a part – is leading in 11 of the 30 assembly seats while the Congress is ahead in 6. 

Voting for these elections took place in March and April, just as India started reporting thousands of fresh coronavirus infections every day. On March 14, two weeks before the first phase, there were fewer than 25,000 new cases a day. On March 27 there were around 62,000 and, by April 29, there were well over 3.5 lakh per day. Yesterday, new cases reached a record daily high of 401,993, the biggest across the world.

Given the rise in Covid-19 cases, the Election Commission of India issued instructions for counting of votes in West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The Commission has issued a blanket ban on all victory rallies, and has made it compulsory for candidates and their agents to either be fully vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19 in the preceding 48 hours. This, after the Madras High Court came down heavily on the poll body for what it said was its failure in enforcing stringent virus protocols.


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