New Delhi/Nagpur: The election commission announced dates for assembly polls in West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Friday, a 42-day long process where the BJP will lock horns with regional satraps and the Congress to expand its national footprint.
The polls will kick off from April 4 and results of all contests will be announced on May 19. A total of 17 crore voters will exercise their franchise across 824 constituencies.
West Bengal will spend the maximum time—six-phase polling spread over seven days—to elect its new 294-member assembly. Assam will go to the polls in two phases while the two southern states – Tamil Nadu and Kerala — and Puducherry will elect their new governments on May 16.
This will be the first time when “None of the Above” or NOTA in the electronic voting machine (EVM) will have a cross symbol to ensure voters can recognise the option easily.
The polls are a crucial not only for the Congress that rules Assam and Kerala, but also for the BJP that miserably lost two high-profile assembly contests in Bihar and Delhi in 2015.
The stakes are also high for Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, J Jayalalitha’s AIADMK and the All India N.R. Congress that rule West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, respectively.
West Bengal will also have the highest number of poll booths, 77,247, followed by Tamil Nadu (65,616).
Along with the announcement, the Model Code of Conduct also comes into force immediately. The governments of poll-bound states as well the Centre will not be able to announce any new welfare schemes without the prior permission of the election commission,.
Here’s all you need to know about the upcoming Assembly polls in 5 states: