The counting of votes to the legislative assemblies of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Assal and the union territory of Puducherry is all most in final phase. The Assembly elections 2021 were held amid a surge in Covid-19 cases across the country – a second wave that has ridden the country to an unprecedented crisis, even as hospitals struggle with oxygen and beds.
Three states were set to beat anti-incumbency on Sunday, with Mamata Banerjee emerging star of the day to lead her TMC to triumph in West Bengal for a third consecutive term. At the same time, the BJP was poised for a return in Assam, as was the LDF in Kerala, Election Commission trends indicated.
Till evening, only a handful of results had been declared for the four states and one union territory. But, as votes were counted with strict Covid protocols in place, the trends pointed to a win for Tamil Nadu’s opposition DMK-led alliance over the ruling AIADMK. In Puducherry, the AINRC-led NDA was headed towards power.
The cynosure of the elections, held over March and April as the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic picked up pace to finally ravage large parts of the country, was the high-stakes, acrimonious Trinamool Congress-BJP contest in West Bengal that had dominated headlines, drawing room conversations and political discourse.
The DMK president M K Stalin, who is set to become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the first time, on Sunday thanked the people for voting his party to power and assured them that he would truthfully work for them.
Stalin expressed his 'heartfelt thanks' to all the people of the state for mandating his party to govern Tamil Nadu for the sixth time.
According to the Election Commission data at 6.30 pm, DMK was leading in 122 segments of the total 234 in the state and won two seats, which is inclusive of its allies who fought on the party's rising sun symbol.
The AIADMK was leading in 74 and won two seats.DMK's allies Congress was leading in 17, the CPI and CPI(M) two each and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi three.
In the past, the DMK had been the ruling party five times, during 2006-11, 1996-2001, 1989-91, 1971-76 and 1967- 71.
The people have given their massive support realising that their well-being would be protected if DMK was voted to power, he said in a statement.
The victory was a commendation for over 50 years of his party's committed work for the people and state. Also, it was in recognition of everyday hardwork of partymen to fulfill the dream of bringing the party to power, he said.
Though they worked to get on to the saddle of power during the lifetime of party patriarch 'Kalaignar' (late M Karunanidhi) it did not happen, but they continued to chase that dream.
"I will be truthful to you, I will work for you, my thoughts and deeds would be for the people of this state," he said. He thanked his party workers, cadres and leaders of alliance parties and all those who greeted him.
In Kerala, the ruling CPI (M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) is set to create history as it appeared to set to retain power for a rare second term in Kerala, the first outgoing coalition government in 40 years to achieve the feat.
When reports last came in, the LDF was leading in 99 seats (91 in the outgoing Assembly); the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in 41 (47); while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was not leading in any seat, including in Nemom, the lone seat it held in the outgoing Assembly.
Outgoing Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was leading by close to 50,000 votes from the Dharmadom constituency in Kannur district. KK Shailaja, the Health Minister in his Cabinet, had totted up a lead of 61,000 votes from Mattannur, again in Kannur. But at least one outgoing member of the Cabinet has been confirmed lost.
The Opposition UDF suffered a severe setback with the Congress-led front not even managing to hold on to its 47 seats in the outgoing Assembly despite senior leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra having conducted several rounds of campaigning just before the state went to polls. Rahul Gandhi represents the Wayand Lok Sabha constituency.
The LDF however was inflicted with an unexpected reverse when Jose K Mani, Chairman of Kerala Congress (M), which had shifted allegiance from the UDF ahead of the election, suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of sitting UDF MLA from the Pala constituency in central Kerala.
As for the NDA, it lost Nemom that senior leader O Rajagopal had won for it in the 2016 elections. Also, BJP state president K Surendran was defeated in both Manjeswar and Konni seats which he had contested this time.
In Assam, the 2021 Assam Legislative Assembly election is witnessing a thrilling finish with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leading in 77 assembly seats, while the Grand Alliance spearheaded by the Congress is ahead in 40 places, according to the trends available in the Election Commission’s website. The BJP is leading in 62 seats, and its partners- Asom Gana Parishad is ahead 10 and United People’s Party, Liberal in seven constituencies. Congress candidates are leading in 26 seats, while those of its ally AIUDF in 11 and Bodoland People’s Front in three.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and AGP chief and minister Atul Bora have won the seats from Majuli, Jalukbari and Bokakhat.
Earlier in the noon, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal exuded confidence that the saffron party-led alliance will retain power in the state. He said, “People have blessed us. We can say for sure that the BJP will form government in Assam. We are coming back to power with our partners AGP and UPPL.”
Meanwhile, Congress president and MP Ripun Bora and leader of the opposition in the assembly Debabrata Saikia are trailing in Gohpur and Nazira. Independent candidate and activist Akhil Gogoi of Raijor Dal is leading in Sibsagar, while former AASU and anti-CAA leader Lurinjyoti Gogoi from Assam Jatiya Parishad is trailing in Naharkatia. Assam has a 126-member assembly and 64 seats are needed for a simple majority.
Though Puducherry is a Union Territory with just 30 seats, it has witnessed an unprecedented battle for power. According to reports, the AINRC-led NDA is leading in the polls. The final counting is still underway. However, the ECI has announced the result of 11 seats- 6 won by All India N.R. Congress, 3 by BJP and 1 by DMK.
The NR Congress on Sunday won eight seats in Puducherry and its ally BJP secured four while the Congress-led Secular Democratic Alliance (SDA) emerged victorious in three constituencies as the counting continued for the votes polled in the April 6 elections. As the results for 14 out of 30 assembly seats were declared, the AINRC bagged eight, BJP three, DMK one and Congress two, the Election Commission said.
A Namassivayam of BJP emerged victorious from Mannadipet constituency after defeating his DMK rival A Krishnan. Namassivayam, who shifted his allegiance to the saffron party in January this year after quitting the Congress, contested the April 6 poll from Mannadipet seat as BJP nominee.