The Election Commission of India (EC) announced the schedule for assembly elections in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Puducherry on Friday. The counting of votes for all five assembly elections will take place on May 2.
According to EC’s announcement, the election to West Bengal and Assam will take place from March 27. Assam will vote in three phases whereas West Bengal will vote in eight phases
The Southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Union Territory Puducherry will have one round of polling on April 6.
The dates are as following:-
West Bengal – 8 Phases - 27 March, 1 April, 6 April, 10 April, 17 April, 22 April, 26 April, 29 April
Assam - 3 Phases - 27 March, 1 April, 6 April
Kerala – 1 Phase - 6 April
Tamil Nadu - 1 Phase - 6 April
Puducherry - 1 Phase - 6 April
At the beginning of the address, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora paid tributes to the COVID-19 warriors, doctors, paramedics, nurses, researchers, scientists, and all officials on election duty amid the pandemic.
Arora said that 824 assembly constituencies will be going to the polls. “As many as 18.68 crore electors will cast vote at 2.7 lakh polling stations in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, and Puducherry,” Arora said.
While standard safety measures such as social distancing and wearing of masks will be mandatory, EC has also issued special guidelines for the upcoming elections:
Door-to-door campaigning will be restricted to five persons including candidate
All polling officials to be vaccinated before elections
Roadshows are allowed
Separate norms for suspected Covid-19 patient
In West Bengal, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) is locked in a bitter battle with Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP). The Left-Congress alliance is also in the fray.
While Left-Congress are in alliance with West Bengal, they are bitter rivals in the state of Kerala. Ruling LDF will lock horns against Congress-led UDF.
In Assam, BJP led government of Sarbananda Sonowal will be looking for a second term as Congress and its allies pose a strong challenge.
Tamil Nadu will witness a multi-cornered contest with major players being AIADMK-BJP, DMK-Congress and Kamal Haasan’s MNM.