New Delhi: Counting of votes for the high-voltage assembly polls is finally underway on Sunday from 8 am onwards in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry in accordance with coronavirus protocols. The Election Commission (EC) has made all necessary arrangements to provide a safe environment for the counting.
The counting of votes is being conducted amid an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases across India. On Sunday, counting for bypolls to four parliamentary and 13 assembly seats will also take place.
The results of the 2021 assembly polls is likely to have implications for politics at national level for numerous different reasons.
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The counting of votes for the assembly polls which took place in Assam in three phases on March 27, April 1 and 6 will take place on May 2 (Sunday). The 126-seat assembly saw BJP, Congress, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and others going head-to-head to take power.
The state of Assam was under the BJP-led NDA dispensation, which came to power during the 2016 Assembly election after it won 86 of 126 seats. However, this time BJP is facing the grand alliance of eight parties, that comprises of Congress and Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).
The saffron brigade has partnered with AGP and UPP(L) for the 2021 Assembly election. In the NDA camp, while BJP is fighting from 92 seats, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal are contesting from 26 and 8 seats. Meanwhile, Congress is challenging from 94 seats, Communist Party of India (Marxist) from 2, Bodoland People’s Front from 12, and AIUDF from 14. Furthermore, RJD, the Rupun Sarma-led Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation and Ajit Kumar Buyan’s Anchalik Gana Morcha are contesting one seat each in Assam.
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) will be looking to retain the power in the state but will face a tough challenge from the Congress led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which is looking to gain a foothold in the southern state.
CPI(M) which is the largest party in the LDF contested on 77 seats while ally Communist Party of India fought on 24 seats. Meanwhile, Congress contested on 93 seats with Indian Muslim Union League (IUML) going head-to-head for 25 seats. Furthermore, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) contested for 113 seats and its key ally, Bharath Dharma Jana Sena, contested on 21.
The assembly polls in Tamil Nadu saw a total of 3,998 candidates in the fray, which included big political leaders like Chief Minister Palaniswami, his deputy CM O Panneerselvam, DMK chief MK Stalin, actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan, AMMK founder TTV Dhinakaran and Naam BJP state unit chief L Murugan.
While DMK wants to unseat the ruling AIADMK, the present government led by Edappadi K Palaniswami wants to ensure Amma’s legacy and AIADMK’s rule for the third time. MK staling has been at opposition’s helm since 2011 and is confident for its win while AIADMK is facing an anti-incumbency factor in Tamil heartland.
A tough task is cut out for AIADMK as its ally BJP failed to win any seat in the previous Assembly election in 2016, while other issues have dogged the party since 2019 Lok Sabha polls when the DMK-Congress alliance won 38 out of 39 seats.
This time optimistic BJP fielded its candidates in 20 seats while another ally Pattali Makkal Katchi contested from 23 constituencies. The opposition ally Congress fielded 25 candidates while actor-turned-politician Kamal Hassan’s party Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM) is also in the fray.
Polling for 294 seats in West Bengal were held in eight phases with the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) seeking another term against the main Opposition in the state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It is also to be seen whether the CPI (M), who fought the elections in alliance with the Congress and Indian Secular Front (ISF), is able to make a dent in the winning prospects of TMC and BJP.
In the last election, the ruling TMC had won 211 seats with a 44.91% vote share, while the BJP had managed to win just four seats with a 10.16% vote share. TMC was followed by CPI(M) with 26 seats and 19.75% seats. Indian National Congress had won 44 seats with a 12.75% vote share.
Puducherry is set to undergo counting of votes in batches. The outcome will decide the final fate of 324 candidates. The fight for power in Puducherry is seen mainly between NDA and Congress-DMK alliance. Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) is also in the fray in this.
Within NDA, the BJP is fighting for nine seats, All India NR Congress for 16 seats and the AIADMK for five seats.