The Election Commission on Friday 26th January declared the schedule for the upcoming Assembly elections in the four states of Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam and one Union Territory Puducherry.
Polls are to be conducted for 294 seats in West Bengal, 140 seats in Kerala, 234 seats in Tamil Nadu, 126 seats in Assam and 30 seats in Puducherry.
The counting of votes for all five assembly elections will be on 2nd May.
The poll dates are as mentioned below –
- There will be an eight phase polling in West Bengal on 27th March, 1st April, 6th April, 10th April, 17th April, 22nd April , 26th April and 29th April, said the Election Commission.
- The Chief Election Commissioner announced that Tamil Nadu assembly elections will also be held in a single phase on 6th April.
- Assam assembly elections will follow a three phase schedule with the first phase of polling on 27th March, followed by 1st April and last phase on 6th April.
- Kerala will go to polls on 6th April.
- Puducherry assembly elections will host single-phase voting on 6th April.
As the Bihar assembly elections were held in November 2020, elections to these states will also be administered against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Election Commission is expected to adopt a similar protocol for voting. Referring to the 2020 Bihar elections, Sunil Arora said, “The voter turnout in 2020 Bihar elections exceeded both the 2015 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Women voters turned out in very large numbers.”
The election campaign in the poll-bound states has already started with leaders from different political parties, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP national president JP Nadda, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressing public rallies.
Sunil Arora, the Chief Election Commissioner of India, said, “Roll out of vaccination programme has given a boost to the confidence of the people ahead of election. Safety of people is our priority.”
The Model Code of Conduct is expected to be immediately implemented after the announcement of the election dates.