Elections in five Indian states will take place in April and May period and the results will be announced on May 19. The states going to polls are Kerala, Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and union territory Puducherry for its 30 seats. Both Assam and Kerala are ruled by Congress. West Bengal and Tamil Nadu are noted for the women CMs who are heading the respective regional parties. Mamata Banerjee leads the Trinamul Congress in West Bengal while Jayalalitha leads the AIADMK.
In Kerala, there is a neck-and-neck race between the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF). Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is heading the third front and has forged a coalition with the newly floated backward classes party BDSA, led by SNDP Yogam leader Vellapally Nadesan.Polling for Kerala’s 140 seats will be held on May 16 and the results will be out on May 19. In Tamil Nadu, 234 Legislative Assembly seats will go to polls on May 16. Unlike the past, where two parties-- the DMK and the AIADMK dominated the politics, 2016 polls will mark a generational shift in leadership and entry of more parties in the fray. A five-cornered contest is in sight for the assembly polls with AIADMK, DMK, DMDK, People’s Welfare Front and PMK testing their strengths, noted a report in The Hindu. In the north-east India, Assam has 126 assembly seats for which polling will take place on April 4 and 11. In Assam, West Bengal and Kerala, BJP is making a strong bid to expand its presence. In Assam, BJP made deep strides in 2014 Parliament polls with a spectacular rise in vote share from 12 to 36 in just three years. Despite an anti-incumbency wave, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, is a strong leader noted for his victory for a third term in 2011. BJP’s Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has been projected as the party’s chief ministerial candidate. The erstwhile communist bastion of West Bengal, Trinamool Congress chief, and CM Mamata Banerjee is expecting a second term. Her landslide victory in 2011 made history by wiping out of the 30-year long monopoly rule of CPM in the state. The badly decimated Left parties are trying for recovery. The CPM has also aligned with the Congress party in a few pockets. For the BJP, after its impressive show in the 2014 general election, which saw its vote share rising to 17 percent, a Bihar like the situation is emerging. Either, it has to prove its strength again or succumb to the might of the ruling TMC.