Bengal saw sporadic instances of disruption and other complaints as polling for the third phase progressed today. The process in other states — Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala — and the Union Territory of Puducherry remained smooth.
Here are the Top 10 points in this big story:
Till 3 pm, Kerala has seen 58.48 per cent polling, Assam has seen 68.31 per cent, Tamil Nadu 53.02 per cent, Bengal 67.24 per cent and Puducherry 66.59 per cent.
Polls are being held in 31 constituencies of Bengal, seen as the biggest prize for the BJP, which has been trying to bring the opposition-ruled states in its grip. In Tamil Nadu – where Dravidian parties are at the forefront — it has a tie-up with the ruling AIADMK, and is contesting 20 seats. The opposition DMK has an alliance with the Congress and other like-minded parties.
The other southern state, Kerala, which is also having a single phase poll for its 140 seats, has always vacillated between the Congress and the Left. In Assam, where polls are ending today the BJP is hoping for a second term.
The BJP is also hoping to come to power in the Union Territory of Puduchery, where President’s Rule was declared weeks before the elections as six MLAs of the ruling Congress resigned. The Congress has traditionally enjoyed a strong grip on Puducherry but faced trouble with Chief Minister V Narayanasamy being seen as para-dropped.
In Bengal’s Uluberia North seat, four Electronic Voting Machines were found in the house of a leader of the ruling Trinamool Congress. The Sector officer was suspended and extra security was deployed as the locals gheraoed the house.
At Arandi, Trinamool Candidate Sujata Mondal was chased out of booth and her personal security officer was injured, the party claimed. In Hooghly, the party’s candidate was thrashed as well.
In Hooghly district’s Goghat, a woman was murdered early this morning. The BJP claimed her son its worker and she was killed by Trinamool goons – an accusation the ruling party has denied.
In Assam, which is in its third and last phase of polling, there is intense battle between the BJP-led alliance and the mahajot, which has joined hands with perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal.
Assam cabinet minister and BJP’s main strategist of Northeast, Himanta Biswa Sarma, claimed that even in the third phase where the mahajoth is expected to do well, the BJP actually will surprise many. He also predicted the results, claiming the BJP-led alliance would form the government with 87 of the 126 assembly seats.
In Tamil Nadu, where all 234 seats are going to polls in a four-cornered contest, the main battle is between the Chief Minister E Palaniswami’s AIADMK and the DMK led by MK Stalin. The surprise element could be actor-politician Kamal Haasan’s MNM and the AMMK of TTV Dhinakaran, the nephew of expelled AIADMK chief Sasikala.