Three states go to the polls today


There are three state elections taking place in India today all of which should throw up interesting results for the main national parties.

In the Union Territory of Puducherry there are four unconnected districts which make up the Legislative Assembly. They arise out of four former French India colonies and include Puducherry and Karaikal along India’s south-eastern coast, surrounded by Tamil Nadu state, Yanam further north along the eastern coast surrounded by Andhra Pradesh state and Mahe surrounded by Kerala state.

There are 927,034 registered electors and they will be voting at 913 polling stations for the 30 seat Legislative Assembly. In the 2011 election a new centrist party called All India N R Congress (AINRC) led by N. Rangaswamy and affiliated to the BJP’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 15 of the 30 seats. The Indian National Congress (INC) won seven seats and the centrist All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) won five seats. The centre-left Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) won two seats and there was one Independent elected.

Tamil Nadu on the south-eastern coast is the largest of the three states electing their Legislative Assembly today. There are 57,915,075 registered voters voting at 65,616 polling stations for 234 seats in the legislature.

In 2011 the centrist All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) led by J. Jayalalithaa won 160 seats. The centre-left Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) took 41 seats and the Communist Party of India (CPI) won ten seats. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) won 12 seats and there were three other small parties who won seats.

Opinion polls suggest that the AIADMK will retain a comfortable majority. However, a new alliance called the People’s Welfare Front, made up of smaller parties led by Vijayakanth Naidu’s DMDK could create an upset and Tamil Nadu requires relatively small swings to see such an upset.

In the south-eastern state of Kerala there are 25,608,720 registered electors who will vote at 21,498 polling stations for the 140 seat Legislative Assembly of Kerala.

In 2011 a coalition of parties led by the centre-left Indian National Congress (INC) called the United Democratic Front (UDF) and led by Oommen Chandy won a slender victory, taking 72 seats. The left wing Left Democratic Front (LDF) consisting of the Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) and others won the remaining 68 seats.

Opinion polls suggest that the LDF will emerge victorious with around 80 seats which, if correct, will be a major blow to the main national opposition INC which has been struggling to gain any momentum after their 2014 national defeat. The nationally ruling centre-right Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also been campaigning hard in this state and some analysts are predicting that they will finally make a breakthrough and win a possible 2-3 seats with F.Politics suggesting they could get as many as 25 seats; so lots to watch out for in this state.

The counts for all three states will take place on 19th May.

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