BeyondHeadlines Special Correspondent
New Delhi: Mamata Banerjee is set to make history in West Bengal. Her Trinamool Congress (TMC) is headed for a landslide win and Kolkata is set to have a new chief minister in “Didi.” Bouquets have started arriving at the Trinamool Congress office. The big question is whether the Trinamool Congress will get the magic half-way number of 148 alone or will it need ally Congress to make it there. West Bengal has 294 Assembly seats.
In Kerala, the Left and the Congress-led front are locked in a neck and neck battle.
In Tamil Nadu, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has an edge as early trends trickle in but it’s early days yet. Counting has been slow in the state so far. Exit polls predicted a close finish for the Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) and AIADMK in the state. For the AIADMK’s Jayalalithaa, it is a chance to return to power after a hiatus of five years. The DMK, which suffered setbacks on account of 2G spectrum scam and corruption involving the first family members, is seeking a second successive term.
In Assam, the ruling Congress seems ahead in early trends.
Counting of votes is on for the high-profile by-election to Kadapa Lok Sabha in Andhra Pradesh too. It will determine the political future of Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, son of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy.
For Jagan, it was a fight to establish his political credentials after he floated his own political party YSR Congress.
For the Congress, its prestige is at stake in Kadapa as the Lok Sabha seat always remained in its kitty, thanks to YSR.
Jagan’s mother Vijayalakshmi also contested the Pulivendula Assembly seat.
The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for the massive exercise and pressed into service nearly 17,700 Central security personnel to provide a three-tier security.
The entire process, which will decide the fate of several political leaders, will be videographed to prevent any malpractice. According to Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi, the poll outcome is expected by “early lunch”.
“Efficient and secure arrangements are in place for counting and declaration of results,” Quraishi said.
The counting is taking place in 142 counting halls in Assam, 140 in Kerala, 11 in Puducherry, 234 in Tamil Nadu and 312 in West Bengal. While Kerala has an assembly strength of 140, Assam has 126, Tamil Nadu 234, Puducherry 30 and West Bengal 294.
A total of 14.16 crore voters exercised their franchise in the five states which was 20 per cent of the total 72.8 crore electorate in the country with Tamil Nadu and West Bengal registering “all time record turnouts”.