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ECI announces polling dates for West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry assemblies; counting on May 2

Friday, 26 February 2021 (17:26 IST)
New Delhi: The state of Assam will go to polls for Assembly elections in three on March 27, April 1 and 6, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in one phase on April 6, while West Bengal in eight phases on March 27, April 1,6,10,17,22, 26 and 29, with counting of all states and the UT on May 2, Election Commission of India announced here on Friday evening.
The seats at stake are 294 in West Bengal, 126 seats in Assam, 234 in Tamil Nadu, 140 in Kerala and 30 in Puducherry.The term of Assemblies of states--West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala--and union territory Puducherry where President's rule was imposed this week, is coming to an end in May-June.
This will be the second large scale election in India in the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. In November, Bihar Assembly went to polls, and the alliance of ruling JD(U) and BJP was re-elected.

8 Phase polling in West Bengal
The striking part is West Bengal where polling is spread in eight phases. In 2016, the elections in the eastern state were conducted in six phases with the last phase divided into two parts.
In Assam, in phase one polling on March 27, a total 47 constituencies will go for voting while 39 on April 1 and remaining 40 on April 6.
In West Bengal, polling will be held in 30 seats each in phase 1 and 2 on March 27 and April 6, as many 31 seats in third phase on April 10, forty-four seats in fourth phase on April 10, forty-five in fifth phase on April 17, forty-three in sixth phase on April 22, thirty-six in seventh phase on April 26 and remaining 35 seats in eight, last phase.
As per the official data, 2.32 crore voters are registered in Assam, 6.28 cr in Tamil Nadu, 7.34 cr in West Bengal, 2.67 cr in Kerala and 10 lakhs in Puducherry.

Polling stations increased
The number of polling stations have been increased by over 34 pc in Assam and Tamil Nadu, 31 per cent in West Bengal and whooping 89 pc in Kerala and 67 pc in Puducherry.
The ECI reasoned increase in the number of polling stations with restricting 1,000 voters per station due to the pandemic and rise in the number of voters since 2016.

Political standing
In Bengal, the ruling Mamata Banerjee-led All India Trinamool Congress is being challenged by the BJP and the alliance of Congress and Left parties. In 2016, TMC was re-elected after sweeping 211 of 294 seats in six-phase elections. The BJP, for the first time in Bengal in 2019 Lok Sabha, bagged 18 out of 42 seats contested.
In Assam, the BJP, elected in 2016 after winning 86 seats in 126-member Assembly, will fight against grand alliance of Congress and five other parties—the CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML), AIUDF and the Anchalik Gana Morcha---and the alliance of newly formed regional political party Asom Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and Raijor Dal.
In Tamil Nadu, ruling AIADMK re-elected in 2016 after winning 136 seats of 234 in 2016 under the leadership of late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, will be challenged by Stalin-led DMK, having alliance with Congress. The BJP has sided with AIADMK while Tamil cinema star Kamal Hassan, who has floated a new party-- Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM)--will contest from third front.
In Kerala, the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), which won 91 seats in 140-member Assembly, will be challenged by Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP.
The Puducherry government, led by Congress, collapsed this week after its strength from 15 in 30 member-House reduced to 12. The UT will see a contest between Congress and AINRC.(UNI)

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