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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 18 May 2021 4.37 PM IST

TMC set for Bengal sweep, Prashant Kishor says EC acting like extension of BJP

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KOLKATA: After eight hours of counting, here are the key takeaways from the leads currently in. In West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee appears to be heading towards a third term with her party expected to win over 200 seats if not more. The BJP, as per the Election Commission data, is leading in 80 seats currently. In Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin is set to become the state Chief Minister with the DMK-led alliance leading in over 140 seats. In Kerala, the Pinarayai Vijayan-led LDF government looks set to create history by becoming the first government to fight incumbency and retain power in the state. The Congress, meanwhile, had a dismal performance in the state, with the UDF leading in only 41 seats at present.

In Assam, the BJP is set to have a second term with the party’s alliance leading in 76 of the 126 seats while the Congress alliance is leading in 48. In Puducherry, the NRC+ alliance is inching towards the halfway mark with leads in 12 seats.

The elections were held amid a surge in Covid-19 cases across the country – a second wave that has ridden the country to an unprecedented crisis. You can therefore expect the results this time to be much slower. Our coverage on the Covid-19 crisis continues.

On Thursday, as West Bengal completed its record eighth and final phase of voting, exit polls conducted by several television news networks predicted a neck-and-neck contest between the Trinamool and the BJP, relegating the Left-Congress alliance to a distant third. In Tamil Nadu, all the surveys have predicted a DMK-Left-Congress alliance victory with one predicting it would win between 175-195 seats out of 234. In Assam and Kerala, most of the national surveys gave the BJP and the Left Democratic Front (LDF), respectively, a second term.

For the LDF, if the surveys prove true, retaining power in Kerala will be historic as the state has traditionally voted out the incumbent. In Puducherry, the Congress is set to lose with surveys giving the AIADMK-BJP-NR Congress alliance the edge.

What changes at the counting centres this time? Given the rise in Covid-19 cases, the Election Commission of India issued instructions for counting of votes in West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The commission has issued a blanket ban on all victory rallies, and has made it compulsory for candidates and their agents to either be fully vaccinated or have tested negative for Covid-19 in the preceding 48 hours.

This, after the Madras High Court came down heavily on the poll body for what it said was its failure in enforcing stringent Covid-19 protocols.

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TAGS: TMC, BENGAL, KOLKATA, BJP, WEST BENGAL, NARENDRA MODI, ELECTION COMMISSION, MAMATA BANERJEE
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