New Delhi: The counting of votes will begin on Sunday for the high-stakes assembly polls in four states- Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and the union territory of Puducherry.
All necessary arrangements have been made by the Election Commission has made necessary arrangements for counting which will begin at 8 am across counting centres.
The outcome of assembly polls is likely to have implications for politics at the national level.
The exit polls for the four states and a Union Territory predicted a clear victory for DMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu, LDF retaining power in Kerala and BJP-led NDA in Assam and a tight contest in Bengal with several surveys giving an edge to the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC). In Puducherry, the polls predicted victory for NDA.
Bengal has the highest 294 seats and saw a fierce contest between the ruling Trinamool Congress and BJP across eight phases. The Samyukta Morcha comprising the Congress, Left parties and ISF has also tried to put up a strong fight. While the last two phases of Bengal elections saw subdued campaigning due to the sudden rise in coronavirus cases in the country, the first six phases saw the constant exchange of barbs between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and BJP leaders.
The BJP has made a concerted attempt to dislodge the TMC. BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and party chief JP Nadda held several rallies across the state. The Trinamool Congress has been in power in the state since 2011. Several TMC leaders joined the BJP in the run-up to the elections and Mamata Banerjee contested Nandigram against her former ministerial colleague Suvendu Adhikari.
In Kerala, leaders of both LDF and UDF have expressed confidence of victory in Kerala polls ahead of counting. The exit polls have indicated that the ruling LDF will create history by getting re-elected but leaders of Congress-led UDF have rejected these surveys and expressed confidence of their alliance coming to power in the southern state. LDF leaders have said that the exit polls reflect the acceptability of the ruling alliance among people.
The counting of votes for 140 member assembly will begin at 8 am. The polling was held in a single phase on April 6.
In Assam, the BJP is seeking a second term after a thumping win in the 2016 elections where the party ended Tarun Gogoi-led Congress’ 15-year rule when it won 86 out of 126 seats.
The main contest is between the alliances led by the BJP and Congress. The BJP-led led alliance also includes the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL).
The Congress has stitched a broad alliance called the Mahajot which includes All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, the Anchalik Gana Marcha (AGM) and the Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF).
Jailed activist Akhil Gogoi’s Raijor Dal has stitched an alliance with Assam Jatiya Parishad. The BJP is banking on the performance of the Sarbanand Sonowal government in the state in the past five years, the initiatives of the central government and the appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In Tamil Nadu, the assembly polls will be the first in the absence of two towering leaders of the state and former chief ministers J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi. The fate of 3,998 candidates was sealed during polling on April 6. The state has 234 constituencies.
While ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) made a determined bid to retain power, the DMK-led alliance campaigned hard to oust it. DMK has been out of power since 2011. Makkal Needhi Maiam has also made efforts to put up a strong fight. Several other parties were also in the fray.
The AIADMK-led alliance includes BJP and Paattali Makkal Katchi (PMK). The DMK has allotted 25 seats to Congress, six each to CPI, CPI (M), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Vaiko’s Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK).
In Puducherry, the counting of votes is likely to take place in batches. The results will decide the fate of 324 candidates. The battle is seen mainly between NDA and Congress-DMK alliance.