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India Polls: Early Leads Show BJP Losing Bengal, Kerala Unlike Assam

SRINAGAR: In one of the most aggressive elections that the BJP contested in the states of Assam, Kerala, and West Bengal, early trends show the right-wing party may not be permitted in at least Bengal and coastal Kerala. However, the party is likely to retain Assam.

PM Modi, BJP President Amit Shah and Home Minister Rajnath Singh

The campaigning took place at the peak of the Covid-19 second wave in which the ruling party was accused of flouting everything including the basic mask protection. West Bengal was the key target because it has been a state that denied entry to the right-wing for a long time, primarily for cultural reasons. Kerala, however, has historically remained unfriendly with the right-wing because of a high literacy rate and better connectivity with the world overseas.

Early leads reported by the media, devastated by the Covid-19 and the harsh governance systems, suggest that AICT is leading at 211 seats and BJP is at 78. The West Bengal assembly has 294 berths. In the last assembly, the All India Trinamool Congress (AICT) has 19 berths, BJP had 31, and Congress had 23, and CPI (M) 19. This time, BJP is improving, apparently at the cost of Congress and Communists.

In coastal Kerala, the early trends suggest that CPI (M) tops the chart with 57 seats; Congress may get 24, CPI 16, and IUML 13. BJP is leading at four berths. Kerala assembly has 140 berths. It was being ruled by a 91-seat coalition called LDF while the UDF was the opposition. BJP in the last assembly had just a berth in the assembly and was not part of either of the two coalitions.

However, the situation is slightly different in Assam, in Bengal’s immediate neighborhood. Early trends show BJP leading at 55 berths followed by Congress in 29 seats, AIUDF 13, and AGP 11. The Assam assembly has 126 berths. In the last term, the assembly had 60 berths with BJP, 11 with AGP, and 7 with UPPL. These three parties were in a coalition to rule the major north-eastern state. Congress had 26 seats, AIUDF 11, and three were with BPF. These three parties were the main opposition in the state.

The trends can change at any moment as the counting is taking place for only a few hours now.

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