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  • Assam
  • Tamil Nadu
  • West Bengal
  • Puducherry
  • Kerala
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Assembly Election 2021

Four states and a Union Territory are electing new assemblies and governments over March-April. The states going to the polls are Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The Union Territory of Puducherry votes to elect its own assembly and government.

Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry vote in a single-phase election on April 6. Assam votes in three phases while West Bengal will see an eight-phased assembly election. Of all the poll-bound assemblies, West Bengal has the highest of number seats at 294 followed by Tamil Nadu at 234, Kerala 140, Assam 126 and Puducherry 30. Puducherry will additionally have three nominated members, who are named by the Centre.

The West Bengal Assembly election is the most-keenly watched polls of all this election season. Here, the ruling Trinamool Congress of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is hoping to make it three election victories in a row since coming to power in 2011. It is being challenged by an emerging BJP in Bengal and former ruling parties of the state, the Congress and the CPI(M)-led Left Front.

The Left Front, which had ended a Congress’s monopoly in Bengal in 1970s, has cobbled up an alliance with the party in what appears its “do or die” bid to return to power in the state. The BJP, on the other hand, rose to a challenging position in Bengal against the TMC on the basis of its performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. It has inducted a number of TMC leaders and workers to improve its prospects and weaken those of Mamata Banerjee’s party in the Bengal election.

In Tamil Nadu, the fight is direct between the ruling AIADMK led by Chief Minister EK Palaniswami and the DMK led by MK Stalin, the son of former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. The AIADMK led by late J Jayalalithaa had bucked the trend in 2016 to return to power for consecutive term. Tamil Nadu had been voting against the ruling party since 1980s before Jayalalithaa broke the trend.

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan has been trying to make it a triangular contest by stitching alliances to come up with an elusive third front. At the same time, former AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran has allied with Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIAMIM to add more spice to the Tamil Nadu’s political soup in the upcoming election.

In Kerala, the fight is again direct between the CPM-led LDF, which is ruling the state, and the Congress-led UDF, which hopes that the state would continue its trend to vote for the Opposition coalition in an assembly election. Kerala has not elected a ruling party since 1980s.

In Assam, the BJP is fighting to retain power in a state where it won its first assembly election in 2016. It is facing an anti-incumbency sentiment primarily due to the strong opposition by various political as well as non-political outfits in the state against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The protesters say the CAA violates the Assam Accord signed in 1980s to ensure protection of local culture and demography.

In Puducherry, the Congress-led UPA and the AINRC-led Opposition alliances are in contention. The Congress lost power in Puducherry just ahead of the announcement of assembly polls due to rebellion in the ranks. Several MLAs from the Congress-DMK alliance resigned and joined the BJP, which had only three nominated MLAs in Puducherry Assembly. The assembly election is likely to be a tight contest in Puducherry.