Big polling day today as over 750 constituencies in 5 states goes to vote

NEW DELHI: More than 750 constituencies spread across five states which includes one union territory (UT) in Kerala, Tamil Nadu (TN), Assam, West Bengal (WB) and UT Puducherry will go to the polls today starting at 7 am till 6 pm in the evening.

The ongoing elections in these five states have a total electorate of over 187.2 million, one of the largest in the world to vote so far amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apart from the security personnel from the respective state police force, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has deployed several hundred companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) for tight security arrangements and to ensure peaceful voting at all 88,936 polling stations spread in these states.

West Bengal which is continuously witnessing a fierce battle between the incumbent Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, supremo of the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the aggressive challenger the duo of Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) goes to the polls for 31 assembly seats in the third phase elections.

A total of 205 candidates are in the fray and as per ECI figures, nearly 78.5 lakh voters are eligible to in this phase in WB and over 10,871 polling stations has been set up across assembly constituencies. 

In Assam, voting for 40 remaining constituencies for the final of its three phases is happening with 337 candidates trying their luck. There are altogether 79.19 lakh voters who will be exercising their franchise at the 11,401 polling booths. Dispur assembly constituency has the highest of 4.11 lakh voters while Dharmapur assembly constituency has the lowest of 1.41 voters. 

In Assam the BJP-led coalition NDA is seeking to return to power for the second term and the state witnesses a triangular contest between the BJP coalition, Congress-led Mahajot and the newly floated Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) which is contesting in 22 seats. Also, there are 126 independents in the fray in the final phase of the election.

In TN, UT of Puducherry and Kerala, voting for their single-phase election will take place today, for a total of 404 assembly seats in these respective states. 

In TN a total of 234 assembly seats go to the polls and 6.28 crore voters will be deciding the fate of 3,998 candidates. 88,937 polling stations that have been erected for the voting day. Sholanganallur within the Chennai city limits is the biggest assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu in terms of voters with close to 7 lakh eligible voters and Harbour assembly constituency is the smallest in terms of electors at 1.75 lakhs.

The regional party All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) is contesting the polls in alliance with the BJP, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), and some other smaller parties in TN, while MK Stalin-led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) is contesting the election with the Congress, CPI (M) and 10 other parties. Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam is contesting polls in alliance with small regional parties.

In the UT Puducherry, 324 candidates are in the fray for 30 seats and 1558 polling stations have been set up for an electorate population of 10.04 lakh. ECI has deployed as many as 34 companies of CAPF along with flying squads in the UT.

The Congress, which is heading the Secular Democratic Alliance (SDA), is contesting on 14 seats and supporting an Independent in Yanam. Its ally DMK is contesting 13 seats. The BJP is contesting in alliance with N Rangasamy’s AINRC is contesting from 16 seats while it has given 9 seats to the BJP and four to AIADMK. 

In Kerala for the 140 seats, 957 candidates are in the fray and over 2.67 crore electorate will vote in over 40,771 polling stations across the state. 

While the contest is largely between Left-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and Congress-led UDF, the BJP, is trying its luck projecting Metroman, E Sreedharan who turns 90 in the next two years as its key candidate. In 2016, the LDF had won 97 sweats while Congress bagged 47 and the BJP just 1.

Today during the ongoing elections for the five state, the ECI is organizing an International Virtual Election Visitors Programme (IEVP) 2021 for foreign Election Management Bodies (EMBs) and over 106 delegates from over 26 countries across the world are going to participate in this unique program. 


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