Polling began in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, West Bengal and Puducherry at 7 am on Tuesday. The final polling percentage recorded in the following states is — Assam (82.33%), Kerala (70.29%), Tamil Nadu (65.19%), West Bengal (77.68%), and Puducherry (78.90%).
Voting concluded in more than 750 constituencies of Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Pudducherry on Tuesday. Over 20 crore people from Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry exercised their electoral rights on Tuesday.
A total of 475 seats spread across Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and Puducherry voted on Tuesday. This was the third and final phase of polling for Assam, Bengal has five more. For the southern two states and one Union Territory, this was the first and only phase of polling.
Before polling in the five states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the voters to exercise their right in record numbers. Also, the Election Commission suspended a sector officer after three EVMs and four VVPAT machines were found at TMC leader Goutam Ghosh’s residence.
In Tamil Nadu, the ruling AIADMK has tied up with the BJP to seek re-election while DMK led by MK Stalin has emerged as a strong contender challenging a third term for the AIADMK government. The ruling AIADMK is contesting on 191 seats, with 23 given to the PMK and only 20 for the BJP. Kamal Haasan’s MNM is contesting on 142 seats, with 85 divided between some allies – and the AMMK of TTV Dhinakaran, who is the nephew of expelled AIADMK chief Sasikala. The AMMK will contest 165 seats and leave 60 for the DMDK.
Kerala’s, 2.74 crore voters will lock the fate of about 957 candidates, including high-profile leaders and independents, are in the fray in 140 Assembly constituencies across the state. Kerala will be deciding the fate of the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government that is seeking a re-election going against the trend of the state alternating between LDF and UDF in every election. With the LDF government led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan looking to retain power.
The 31 seats that are voting in Bengal on Tuesday include some of the key TMC bastions such as Diamond Harbour and South 24 Parganas that will decide the fate of the Mamata Banerjee government. In Bengal, the BJP is seeking to dethrone the Trinamool Congress government while the Left Front-ISF-Congress alliance is hoping to make a mark. A total of 205 candidates are on the battlefield, with the prominent among them being BJP leader Swapan Dasgupta, TMC minister Ashima Patra and CPI(M) leader Kanti Ganguly — in three districts — Howrah, Hooghly and South 24 Parganas.
In Assam, a direct contest between the BJP-led NDA and Congress-headed Grand Alliance is on the cards in 20 constituencies while there is a triangular fight in the remaining seats with the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) being considered as the third force. The ruling BJP is targeting a second term in Assam while the Congress, at the head of an opposition alliance, contested on 24 seats with Badruddin Ajmal’s AIUDF 12, the BPF eight and CPM 1.
Puducherry is also voting to elect a new government following the collapse of its Congress-led administration due to an array of resignations. It will witness a battle between the Congress party and the opposition led by a former chief minister N Rangasamy, who has allied with the BJP, the party accused of orchestrating the defection of ministers from the previous government by ‘purchasing’ and ‘threatening’ the Congress MLAs.