A long-drawn out elections held amid a raging pandemic, triggering controversy, came to an end with resounding victories for Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, Left Front in Kerala, DMK in Tamil Nadu and the BJP in Assam and Puducherry even as Mamta Banerjee’s fate hangs in balance.
“Bengal has saved India. This is a victory of democracy. They said they would win 200-plus seats but they have been decimated. Bengal has decimated BJP’s ego,” Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said after the landslide victory for her party with nearly 210 seats.
“Don’t worry about Nandigram, I struggled for Nandigram because I fought a movement. It’s OK. Let the Nandigram people give whatever verdict they want, I accept that. I don’t mind,” she said.
The result of Nandigram constituency was mired in confusion after the Election Commission declared Suvendu Adhikari the winner in the evening hours after doing the same for Mamata.
Alleging manipulations in the results, Mamta said she will move court.
Trinamool’s victory decimated the Left which drew a void in the elections as the BJP emerged as the main opposition party with more than 70 seats, which the party still considers a feat despite having vowed to come to power in the state.
I accept the verdict. But I will move the Court because I have information that after the declaration of results there were some manipulations done and I will reveal those: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee pic.twitter.com/JM88edOgAa
— ANI (@ANI) May 2, 2021
Kerala backs Left return
Similar victories were seen in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam where dominant parties cleared the majority mark with comfortable margins.
Kerala sprang a surprise when it saw the return of an incumbent after nearly 30 years. The Left front led by Pinarayi Vijayan scored nearly 100 seats leaving the Congress red-faced and BJP whitewashed.
The LDF made a clean sweep in nine districts and was buoyed by the apparent support it received for effectively dealing with Covid-19 pandemic.
During its tenure, the LDF government had also effectively dealt with cyclone Ockhi in 2017, the Nipah outbreak in 2018 and the floods in 2018 and 2019.
“This is a fitting reply to the attempt to jeopardise the welfare measures taken by the government by using central investigating agencies,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said. “The right wing media also tried their level best to discredit us, but people rejected them too.”
The thumping campaign of BJP fell flat as it failed to win a single seat, losing its lone Nemom seat held by O Rajagopal and Palakkad, where Metroman E Sreedharan was fielded.
DMK back in TN after decade
MK Stalin-led DMK saw its tally cross the majority mark alone after a decade as Tamil Nadu voted in the absence of its towering leaders M Karunanidhi (DMK) and J Jayalalithaa (AIADMK) for the first time.
Along with its allies like Congress, VCK and the Left, the DMK-plus was poised to touch 150 seats.
Stalin is expected to become the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for the first time, a dream come true for him, having emerged as the prime leader of DMK after edging out his elder brother MK Azhagiri following the death of their father Karunanidhi.
Outgoing chief minister Edapaddi Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam registered comfortable victories in their constituencies, Edapaddi and Bodinayakanur, respectively.
Actor Kamal Haasan and his Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) took a beating in the election, and was fighting a close battle with BJP in Coimbatore South to win a single seat till late evening.
TTV Dhinakaran, nephew of VK Sasikala, Jayalalithaa’s former confidante, who contested on his party AMMK’s ticket in Kovilpatti, lost to AIADMK’s Kadambur Raju.
The BJP was fighting a losing battle in three seats in Tamil Nadu, having extensively campaigned in the state and contested in alliance with the AIADMK.
Assam relief for BJP
Assam came as the only relief to the BJP among the four major states, albeit in alliance, as it was poised to win about 75 seats in the 126 member assembly. BJP is ahead in 56 seats, AGP in 11 and UPPL in 8 seats.
The Congress-led ‘Mahajut’, a rainbow coalition of 10 political parties, has failed to make much of an impact with many of the party heavyweights trailing. Assam Congress president Ripun Bora, who led the Front, has lost. Congress MLA and leader of opposition, Debabrata Saikia, is also trailing.
“Counting is still underway, but it is clear that BJP is forming the government once again. This has been possible because of people’s cooperation,” Sarbananda Sonowal, Assam chief minister and BJP leader said after the elections.
NRC+BJP in Puducherry
Former Puducherry chief minister N Rangaswamy led his AINRC to victory in the 28-member Union territory in alliance with the BJP, defeating incumbent Congress led by V Narayanasamy.
The NRC-BJP combine was ahead in 15 seats and poised to claim victory.
Focus shifts to Covid
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the winning parties after the elections and assured full support of the Centre in the battle against Covid-19 ahead.
The people of Assam have again blessed the NDA’s development agenda and the pro-people track record of our Government in the state. I thank the people of Assam for the blessings. I appreciate the hard work of NDA Karyakartas and their untiring efforts in serving the people.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 2, 2021
Congratulations to Thiru @mkstalin and @arivalayam for the victory in the Tamil Nadu assembly elections. We shall work together for enhancing national progress, fulfilling regional aspirations and defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 2, 2021
All the winning leaders thanked the people for their support and announced that they would immediately focus on dealing with the raging Covid pandemic, which brought the political class and the election commission under severe scrutiny.
Victory celebrations were curtailed by the Supreme Court in view of the pandemic and counting was held amid strict restrictions.
Shortage of vaccine, oxygen, hospital beds and medicines and other facilities have plagued several states, driving up the number of infections and deaths in a short span of two months.
As on May 2, India had 33.43 lakh active Covid-19 cases and a total of 2.15 lakh deaths. However, the country has raced ahead in terms of administering vaccine—to 15.68 crore people—even though it is only a little over 10% of the total population.