The assembly elections in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala will be held between 4 April 4 and 16 May. Votes in all five states and one union territory will be counted on 19 May 19, according to the Election Commission of India on 4 March.
The polls will be held in two phases for 120 constituencies on 4 April and 11 April in Assam. In West Bengal, assembly elections will be held in six phases. For the first phase alone, voting will be held on two days—4 April and 11 April. Voting for the remaining phases will be conducted on 17, 21, 25, 30 April and 5 May. At the same time, according to the commission, the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and UT of Puducherry will have a single-phase poll on May 16.
Counting will be held on 19 May. As many as 17 crore voters will exercise their franchise in 824 constituencies.
The terms of the five assemblies are ending in April and May. Model code of conduct comes with immediate effect. That means the Centre and governments in these states cannot make policy announcements from today onwards, said chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi.
In these elections NOTA — or the option of voting for none of the above — will have a symbol at the bottom of the list of candidates.
The BJP has not been a major player in the five states. Apart from boosting its cadre in West Bengal and Kerala, the party hopes for a repeat 2014 performance to form a government in Assam. Also, the BJP has formed an alliance with Asom Gana Parishad and the Bodoland People’s Front.
In Tamil Nadu, CM J Jayalalithaa is fighting for a second term. Her arch rival M Karunanidhi of the DMK has joined hands with the Congress and is said to be in talks with actor-turned-politician Vijaykanth-led of the DMDK.
In Kerala, the Left Democratic Front hopes to oust the Congress-led United Democratic Front that ruled the state for the last five years.
The commission has allowed new voters to enroll themselves until 10 days from the last date of nomination. The voters must check if their names are listed in the electoral rolls. Also for the first time, the poll panel will set up special polling station at leprosy treatment centres.