Counting of votes to the legislative assemblies of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam and the union territory of Puducherry is underway. 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.
The poll results in the four states and the Union Territory are also likely to reflect how the handling of the COVID pandemic has played on the voters’ mind. The most closely watched among them will be West Bengal where Mamata Banerjee is trying to retain power for third time amid a tough contest from the BJP. Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress is ahead in West Bengal, where the BJP seems to have made gains since the 2019 national elections. In Tamil Nadu, the opposition DMK is way ahead with 69 per cent of the MLAs of the DMK-Led alliance leading in their respective seats. In neighbouring Kerala, the ruling Left-led LDF front – which is hoping to end a four-decade trend by retaining power – is past the halfway mark, early trends from the state show. In Assam, the BJP is ahead of its nearest rival Congress, which campaigned hard to reclaim its one-time bastion. AINRC Chief N Rangaswamy, meanwhile, is leading in Puducherry at the moment with his alliance leading in 10 seats.