Wednesday, March 2, 2011

EC announces assembly poll schedule

New Delhi: Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Assam and West Bengal will go to polls in April and May in the biggest popularity contest since the 2009 Lok Sabha election, it was announced on Tuesday.

Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi said some 150 million voters will be eligible to take part in the elections that will begin April 4 and conclude May 10.

The vote count will take place May 13, Quraishi told reporters at his office.

While Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will have a single phase polling on April 13, Assam will see balloting on April 4 and 11.

Polling in West Bengal will be spread over six phases -- April 18, 23 and 27 and May 3, 7 and 10.

The April-May battle will dominantly involve the Left, the Congress and regional parties like the Trinamool Congress, the Asom Gana Parishad, the DMK and the AIADMK.

One of the keenest contests is expected in West Bengal, where the Left Front led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), which has been in power since 1977, faces its most serious challenge.

The Left Front's biggest threat comes from the Trinamool Congress of Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee who has vowed to unseat the Marxists and form a government.

In Kerala, the coalitions led by the Left and Congress will take on each other. The ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu will lead its alliance against a resurgent AIADMK.

Assam's ruling Congress faces a divided opposition.

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