After beating BJP, Mamata Banerjee says she will move court against EC

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said she will move court, specifically a constitutional court, to ensure the rights of the Election Commission continue to remain transparent. Though defeated from Nandigram, Banerjee hailed the victory as Bengal’s for India. She implored her partyworkers to keep aside rambunctious celebrations for a later date after the Covid situation improves.

The Trinamool Congress shook off the BJP’s strong challenge to lead in 218 seats against the BJP’s 73 in a house of 294 members. Trinamool poll strategist Prashant Kishor had famously said before the elections that the BJP will not cross double digits.

18:00pm: After winning Nandigram seat against BJPs Suvendu Adhikari, Mamata Banerjee is set to hold a press conference. The Trinamool chief also requested her supporters to stop big gatherings and public celebrations and appealed to the people of Bengal to follow Covid-19 protocols to curb the second wave of Covid-19.

17:00pm: Puducherry: BJP’s A. Namassivayam won from Mannadipet Constituency. He thanked voters for electing him as their representative. NDA will take up welfare activities for people of Puducherry and continue to work for them, he said.

16:50 pm: Kerala: CPM’s KK Ramachandran won by a margin of 27,353 votes from Puthukkad assembly constituency, defeating UDF’s Sunil Anthikkad.

16:40 pm: Kerala Congress president Mullappally Ramachandran reacted to Vijaya’s victory, saying this government is known for its corrupt practices. I don’t understand why such a massive mandate was given to the existing chief minister in this election. This needs to be studied carefully.

16:20 pm:  Mamata Banerjee defeated JP’s Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram constituency by 1200 votes.

16:15 pm: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated Mamata Banerjee for TMC victory. He tweeted, Congratulations to the Chief Minister of West Bengal, @MamataOfficial Didi on her party’s victory in West Bengal assembly elections. My best wishes to her for her next tenure.

Congratulations to the Chief Minister of West Bengal, @MamataOfficial Didi on her party’s victory in West Bengal assembly elections. My best wishes to her for her next tenure.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) May 2, 2021

16:01 pm: BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya credited Mamata Banerjee for the TMC’s astounding performance in Bengal elections, and said his party would introspect the poll results.

15:57 pm: BJP workers distributed sweets at party office in Guwahati to celebrate the anticipated victory, as BJP leads in 57 seats.

15:50 pm: Reacting to poll trends, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said it is clear that the people of Assam have elected a BJP government for the second time. The BJP alliance is leading in 77 assembly seats, while the Grand Alliance spearheaded by the Congress is ahead in 40 places.

15:48pm: Assam: All India Congress Committee National General Secretary Jitendra Singh claimed that the Grand Alliance of the opposition parties will emerge victoriously, said the trends so far will be reversed in the next two to four hours. “I am still saying that the ”Mahajot” will form the government. Only 3-4 rounds are over at this moment, while counting will continue for more than 15 rounds in most of the seats,” said Singh, the in-charge of Assam Congress..

15:45 pm: After the 16th round of counting, BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari leading in Nandigram by 6 votes, according to the Election Commission trends.

15:30pm: DMK chief MK Stalin asked his party workers to avoid victory gathering. The party is leading in 119 Assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu, as per Election Commission trends.

Avoid victory celebrations: DMK chief MK Stalin (in file photo) to party workersDMK is leading in 119 Assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu, as per Election Commission trends#COVID19— ANI (@ANI) May 2, 2021

15:24pm: Election Commission has said that the counting is underway in the constituencies without any let-up, only server has slowed down.

Counting has not slowed down, due to heavy load the server has slowed down. Counting is continuing in the constituencies without any let-up: Election Commission of India#AssemblyElections2021— ANI (@ANI) May 2, 2021

15:10pm: Poll strategist Prashant Kishor will exit campaign manager role. In this victory, I am saying, I am quitting and I don’t want to do this anymore. I have had enough. I want to pursue something else, he said in an interview to NDTV.

14:59pm: Tamil Nadu: DMK workers and supporters who were celebrating at the party headquarters have now left after the Election Commission ordered States/UTs to prohibit victory celebrations urgently.

Chennai: DMK workers and supporters who were celebrating at the party headquarters have now left after the Election Commission ordered States/UTs to prohibit victory celebrations urgently#TamilNaduElections— ANI (@ANI) May 2, 2021

14:27 pm: Trinamool political strategist Prashant Kishor said the party went through hell as the EC allowed the BJP to do whatever they wanted to do. The EC acted as an extension of the BJP. They have been blatantly partial. They did everything that they could have done on their part to help BJP win Bengal, he said.

14:15pm: From Trinamool’s Raj Chakraborty leading in BJP leader Arjun Singh’s territory to Sayoni Ghosh soaring past her BJP counterpart in Asansol Dakshin, Mamata Banerjee’s star-studded line-up has shine.

14:00pm: Mamata Banerjee likely to return as the Chief Minister for the third consecutive term as TMC leading with more than 200 seats.

13: 50 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal congratulating Mamata Banerjee for what appears to be Trinamool’s massive victory in West Bengal.

Congratulations @MamataOfficial didi for landslide victory. What a fight!Congratulations to the people of WB— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) May 2, 2021

13:14pm : In view of reports of the congregation of people celebration anticipated victory, Election Commission has directed the Chief secretaries of all four states and a Union territory to file FIR in such cases or suspend the concerned SHO.

ECI takes serious note of reports coming in of congregation(s) of people to celebrate anticipated victory. EC has directed Chief Secretaries of all 5 states to file FIR in each such case, suspend concerned SHO and report action taken immediately of each such incidence: ECI— ANI (@ANI) May 2, 2021

12:56 pm: West Bengal: Trinamool Congress has crossed the 200 mark in leads with the BJP being pushed down to 90. Mamata Banerjee is trailing in Nandigram to her former party colleague Suvendhu Adhikari who jumped to the BJP.

12:44 pm: Puducherry: the NRC+ alliance of which the AIADMK and the BJP are part, is leading in 11 seats whereas the Congress+ is leading in 6.

12:30 pm: In Tamil Nadu, the DMK led by M.K. Stalin led in 137 seats in the house of 234 seats, well beyond the halfway mark. The AIADMK was at 95.

12:22 pm: Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien tweeted a video of BJP leader and Home Minister Amit Shah stating the BJP would win 200 seats in Bengal.

11:15am: Tamil Nadu: DMK supporters gathered outside the party headquarters in Chennai to celebrate their party’s victory in the assembly elections. The DMK is currently leading in 137 seats of 234. 

11:05 am: Kailash Vijayavargiya, BJP in-charge of West Bengal reacted to West Bengal leading in the early trends, He said, Too early to say anything because there are so many rounds. The situation will be clear only by evening. We had started from 3 & were challenged that we won’t get even 100, we have crossed that mark. We will cross the magic number too.

9:14 am:  West Bengal: The TMC 101 while the BJP is closely behind at 95. The Left is at 3. In Kerala, the LDF is leading in 80 while Congress is leading in 55. The BJP is at 2. 

9:00 am: As per the early trends, the n Tamil Nadu, the DMK+ is leading in 40 while the AIADMK is leading in 32. In West Bengal, the TMC+ is leading in 74 while the BJP+ is leading in 72. In Kerala, the LDF Is leading in 61 while the UDF is leading in 47. BJP has taken a lead in 4. In Puducherry, the NRC+ is leading in 4 while Congress is leading in 1. In Assam, the BJP+ is leading in 29 while the Congress is leading in 18. AJP+ is leading in 3. -The main EVM ballot yet to be counted.

8:50 am: West Bengal: Counting agent of Congress candidate Tapas Majumder from Panihati, rushed to hospital after he fell conscious at the counting centre.

8:51 am: Puducherry: Of 30 seats, the NRC+ ahead with 3 while the Congress gained 1. As predicted by the exit poll surveys, the Congress seems to struggle in Puducherry.

8:46 am: Visuals from a counting centre in West Bengal’s Haldia where votes of constituencies- Haldia, Mahishadal and Nandigram are being counted.

8:45 am: Kerala: Of 60 seats, the ruling LDF  is leading in 30 seats while opposition UDF is ahead in 27 seats. while the BJP, which is a marginal player, is ahead in three seats.

8:44am: Assam : BJP leading in 12, while the Congress is leading in 9.  The AJP+ is leading in 2.

8:36 am: Tamil Nadu: DMK+ candidate MK Stalin leading in Kolathur, his son Udhayanidhi Stalin in Chepauk.

8:32 am: West Bengal: BJP leading in 23 seats while the ruling Trinamool Congress is leading in 18.

8:28 am: Counting underway, visuals from Kerala’s Idukki.

8:25 am: Tamil Nadu: The DMK+ is leading in five seats, while the AIDMK alliance is leading in 1.

8:15 am: In counting of postal ballots in Assam, BJP is leading in 2 while the Congress is leading in 1. In Kerala, the LDF and the UDF are leading in two each.

8:05 am: West Bengal: According to first postal ballot counting, BJP candidate Niladri Sekhar Dana leading from Bankura constituency and TMC candidate Saokat Molla retaining power in the Canning Purba constituency.

8:00 am: Counting of votes began across centres in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala, and Puducherry. It is being reported that the poll results this time will take longer because of the Covid-19 crisis. 

7:57 am: Tamil Nadu: First election in the last 70 odd years without Karunanidhi, first such without Jayalalithaa for some 40 years.

7:54 am: Kerala: Pinarayi Vijayan is tipped to beat the cyclical LDF-UDF turnstile this time with his government’s reasonable performance during Covid times.

7:52 am: In West Bengal, the TMC and the BJP are locked in a bitter struggle for the 294 Assembly seats as the exit polls predicted a close contest.

7:44 am: Ahead of the poll results, Kerala Congress leader and candidate from Puthuppally constituency, Oommen Chandy, offered prayers at Puthuppally Church.

7:28 am: Counting agents and others arrive at the counting centre in West Bengal’s Siliguri as counting of votes for assembly polls to commence shortly.

7:12 am: Visuals of security arrangement outside the counting centre in Tamil Nadu, Kerala. Puducherry, and Assam.

6:40 am: In view of the surging Covid-19 cases, the Election Commission had issued a blanket ban on all victory rallies during and after the counting of votes in West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry. The commission has made it compulsory for candidates and their agents to either be fully vaccinated or have tested negative for Covid-19 in the preceding 48 hours. 

Sunday 6:30 am: Amid raging pandemic, the counting of votes in four states and a Union Territory will begin today from 8 am, bringing to an end a heated, acrimonious poll season.

Saturday, 6.32 pm: The Arvind Kejriwal government has decided to extend curfew in Delhi for another week. The Delhi government had extended the week-long curfew till May 3 earlier, now it will be in force till May 10.

The counting of votes for elections held to the legislative assemblies of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry began on Sunday. Amid the surging cases of Covid-19, people are protecting themselves from the violent Covid-19 surge and are testy at the possibility of another long lockdown.

West Bengal, which went to the polls in 8 phases which began on March 27 and ended a month later on April 29, has 294 Assembly seats, Tamil Nadu 234, Kerala 140, Assam 126 and Puducherry 30.

As Bengal’s elections went through its phases, the Covid-19 spread also widened in the country. The data on Bengal about the extent of Covid spread is not out yet. But the campaign saw political leaders across party lines speaking to crowds without wearing masks or speaking about the need to even wear the mask as a prophylactic measure. Western media has been scathing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and others for not heeding the Covid call.

Who will win West Bengal?

Bengal will be the cynosure of all attention where a straight contest is expected between the ruling Trinamool Congress and the challenge posed by the BJP. The CPI (M)-Congress-ISF alliance is also expected to give a tough fight to the BJP and the TMC on some seats.

Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is also contesting in Bengal this time and can end up hurting the Trinamool voteshare. But the campaign will be noted for a couple of slogans like Khela Hobe and the more notorious Didi-O-Didi, which could have hurt the BJP much more than it could have imagined. The Delhi media has been building up a narrative that the BJP will either win or come a close second. Sunday will have all the answers.

Can AIADMK win re-election without Jayalalithaa?

In Tamil Nadu, the ruling AIADMK has allied with the Pattali Makkal Katchi and the BJP, the DMK has aligned with the Congress and CPI(M). The newly formed Makkal Needhi Maiam of Kamal Haasan contested the polls in alliance with other smaller regional parties. Former AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran, who floated his own party AMMK has contested polls in alliance with the AIMIM, which is also contesting for the first time in Tamil Nadu.

Much pilloried, the E. Palaniswami government has not been a lameduck either. It has risen to the coronavirus challenge admirably, and this late flourish of the Chief Minister is leading a large number of Tamil news publications and TV to pitch the AIADMK on a stronger wicket.

Can Pinarayi Vijayan win it again for LDF?

The Kerala Assembly elections were held on April 6, 2021 in a single phase for 140 seats. In Kerala, it is a three-cornered fight between the incumbent CPM-led LDF, the Congress-led UDF, and the BJP.

Like in Bengal, the BJP bluster could have pushed more undecided voters towards the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left Democratic Front. The choice of Metroman E. Sreedharan as its CM aspirant could have worked elsewhere but in Kerala, it can end up as the torpedo for the party’s chances. A local BJP leadership could have helped, even if local leaders were assuring Keralites on the quality of beef after their expected victory, but Sreedharan erudite as he maybe in rail engineering, couldn’t catch the pulse of the people nor avoid the pitfalls of raising North India-centric dogwhistles like love jihad, angering the voters’ in Kerala even more.

Smooth sailing for BJP in Assam?

Assam voted in three phases on March 27, April 1 and April 7. In the 2016 Assembly elections, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance won 86 of the state’s 126 seats. The ruling party is contesting 92 seats in alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad, which is contesting 26 seats. The United People’s Party Liberal is contesting 8 seats.

In the opposition grand alliance, the Congress is contesting 94 seats, whereas Badruddin Ajmal’s AIUDF is contesting 14.

Will BJP bag Puducherry?

While the Union Territory of Puducherry is witnessing a direct contest between the UPA and NDA. The NDA – comprising the AINRC contesting 16 seats of the total 30 constituencies, BJP on 9 and the AIADMK on 5 – is taking on the UPA alliance of the Congress and the DMK whcih are contesting 14 and 13 seats respectively. The Congress is also supporting an independent in Yanam. Othe rUPA constituents, the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and the CPI are contesting on one seat each.

The V. Narayanasamy-led government in Puducherry, a Union Territory, lost majority on February 22 after seven MLAs quit one after the other and Narayanasamy stepped down from the CM’s post. He has not contested the 2021 election.

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