Breaking the Red citadel, Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress ended the 34-year hegemony of the Left Front in West Bengal, while Jayalalithaa's AIADMK scored a landslide victory to oust DMK from power in Tamil Nadu as results of the assembly elections was out. Congress scored a spectacular hattrick in Assam bagging a near two-third majority to retain power and managed to wrest power from the Left Democratic Front in Kerala by a wafer-thin majority but lost Puducherry to its rebel. We bring you the latest news and happenings from the five states that matter. Join us on Monday for Live updates.
10:30 pm: Stunning victory for Jagan in Kadapa bypolls
In his first electoral success after quitting Congress, Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy pulled off a thumping victory in the bypolls to the Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency.
Jagan won the election with a huge margin of over 5.45 lakh votes over his nearest Congress rival D L Ravindra Reddy, the state health minister.
10:15 pm: AIADMK has promised 20 kg of free rice for ration-card holders, laptops for students from Class 11, mangalsutra with four grams gold, free fans, mixers and grinders to all, free bus passes for those 58 years and above and 20 litres of mineral water to below poverty line families. Read the story here
10:00 pm: A bad day for Congress, says Andhra chief minister
It is a bad day for the Congress, but things will change, said Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy reacting to the results in the by-elections to Kadapa Lok Sabha and Pulivendula assembly seats.
9:45 pm: Change in Maharashtra too after next polls: Bal Thackeray
Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray expressed happiness over the change of governments in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu and urged the people of Maharashtra to 'prepare for a change in government in the state after the next assembly elections'.
9:30 pm: Kanimozhi leaves for Delhi to appear in court
DMK Chief M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi tonight left for Delhi to appear before a court there which will pronounce its verdict on her bail plea in connection with 2G spectrum allocation scam in which she has been named as a co-conspirator by the CBI.
9:20 pm: Now, that Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress won, will she stick to her manifesto that includes some romantic promises: introducing cruises on the Ganga on the lines of what is offered on the Thames in London, converting West Bengal's tea-growing Darjeeling district into the 'Switzerland of the East'. We at the Yahoo! newsroom think that it is better for her to stick to undoing the wrong that the Communist have done in Bengal instead of concentrating on her fancy promises.
9:00 pm: Congress doubles its tally in Bengal
Out of the 64 seat allocated to the Indian National Congress in West Bengal, the party has won 42. Not a bad showing considering the fact that they had won only 21 seats in the 2006 assembly election.
8:50 pm: Government to be formed before May 19: Gogoi
Upbeat at the spectacular success of Congress in the Assam assembly election, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said the next Congress government would be formed before May 19 - the day the term of his present government ends.
8:35 pm: CPI-M accepts people's verdict in West Bengal Assembly polls: Yechury
After the clean sweep by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) party in the West Bengal Assembly polls, Politburo member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Sitaram Yechury said that people have opted for change.
In the 296-member legislative assembly, TMC was far ahead with 218 seats, while the Left Front has 59 seats.
8:20 pm: Rangasamy leads new party to power in Puducherry
Forming a new party - the All India NR Congress (AINRC) - only two months back, N. Rangasamy is all set to return to the chief minister's post in Puducherry.
In the process he spoilt the chances of the Congress to score a hat-trick of victories. The AINRC-AIADMK combine has won 18 seats in the 30 member house.
8:05 pm: AIADMK chief Jayalalitha has vowed to implement the promises made in the party's election manifesto within 18 months of assuming office. While on that, it is worth examining what that manifesto offered the voters in the event of an AIADMK win. A by no means exhaustive list culled from that document:
#A fan, a mixie and a grinder for every woman in the state. (Incidentally, the DMK had offered either a mixie or a grinder to every woman, so Jaya went one better and said it is not either/or if you vote for us, but both, plus a fan thrown in)
#Four grams of gold and Rs. 25,000 in cash as marriage assistance to every woman getting married (That figure goes up to Rs. 50,000 for beneficiaries holding a diploma/degree)
#Six months of maternity leave along with Rs.12,000 assistance, and bank loan up to a maximum of Rs 10 lakh for women in self-help groups
#A ‘Green House' scheme whereby every family below the poverty line will be gifted a house powered by solar energy; the house will be approximately 300 square feet, valued at about Rs 1.8 lakh. Three lakh people have been identified as being below the poverty line in the state
#A Rs 1 lakh subsidy for helping middle income group families (estimated at 40 lakh) procuring housing
#Three cents of land for every individual identified as poor and landless, for constructing houses
#Four sets of uniforms and one pair of shoes free for every school student
#Scholarships ranging from Rs 1000-Rs 5000 for students in the higher elementary level
#A free laptop for every student in the arts, science, engineering colleges and polytechnics.
#Hospitals on wheels in rural areas, and 24-hour telemedicine centers in 1,500 villages
#5000 MW of additional power by 2013, and three phase power for all households in the rural and urban areas.
#20 kg free rice to all family cardholders, and 20 litres of purified drinking water each month for all families below the poverty line.
And so it goes...
One thing for sure -- if she does implement all, or even most, of these promises by end 2013, she will be one busy lady, and the people in the state will be hers for life.
8:00 pm: CBI's reasoning to spare Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu Ammal in the 2G spectrum scam was today questioned in a Delhi Court by two accused who said ignorance of any language cannot be a ground to absolve a person from the charge of conspiracy. Read more
7:45 pm: Reverting to the subject of wins that go under the general radar but deserve better, we bring you Hibi Eden, national president of the National Students Union and one of the bright young talents in the Congress party, who won with a margin of 32,437 versus the 27,482 polled by nearest rival Sebastian Paul, characterized as an "independent LDF candidate". So why is Hibi -- the youngest candidate in the Kerala polls -- worth your time and attention? This story, by senior journalist Archana Masih of Rediff.com, has answers, and more
7:40 pm: The BJP, earlier today, attempted a mild sort of taunt, pointing fingers at the Congress for the TN debacle and for just narrowly managing to win in Kerala, despite historical precedent. The Congress has begun to push back and prima facie, the party appears to have more ammunition to push with. Sample this:
Expressing happiness over the Assembly election results for five states, Congress today chose the occasion to taunt BJP and Left parties asking them to learn the "right lessons" and stop attempts to destabilise the UPA government. "In this election more than 828 assembly seats went to polls. A national party (BJP), which claims to form government there...could not win seats even in double digit.
"The other party (CPI-M), which aided, abetted and supported BJP inside and outside Parliament also could do no better," senior party leader Pranab Mukherjee said adding it was reduced to double digit figure in West Bengal. More here
7:35 pm: Sonia to take final decision on joining Mamata govt
Later this evening, a Congress Working Committee meeting chaired by Sonia Gandhi is expected to decide whether the party wants to join the Mamta Bannerjee-led Trinamool Congress Party government in West Bengal. More
7:30 pm: CPI(M) turns out to be single largest party in Kerala
The Congress-led UDF might have scraped through in a photo-finish to wrest power in Kerala but it is the CPI(M) which has turned out to be the single largest party in the state. The Congress combine has won with a wafer-thin majority winning 72 seats out of a total of 140 and Congress has won 38 seats, 14 up from 2006's figure.
7:20 pm: People are with us, says Karnataka CM Yeddyurappa
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said the State government would obey the Supreme Court directive quashing the Speaker''s order disqualifying 16 MLAs but asserted that "people are with us".
7:10 pm: Mamata meets West Bengal governor
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee met West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan to stake her claim to form the next government in the state after her party-led alliance swept the assembly polls.
Banerjee, along with senior party leaders Mukul Roy and Partha Chatterjee, reached Raj Bhawan at 6.30 p.m. Entering the Raj Bhawan, she waved to hundreds of her party supporters who were waiting outside.
7:00 pm: Buddhadeb loses from Jadavpore
Outgoing West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee lost to Trinamool Congress nominee Manish Gupta by 16,684 votes from Jadavpore constituency. Gupta polled 103,972 votes, compared to Bhattacharjee's 87,288.
Bhattacharjee has been winning from Jadavpore since 1987. This is the first time the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has lost Jadavpore since the seat was carved out in 1967.
6:55 pm: Karnataka bypolls: Cong accuses BJP of creating artificial majority
With the BJP making a clean sweep in bye-elections to the three assembly seats in Karnataka, Congress suspected a foul play and accused the ruling party there of creating "artificial majority".
6:50 pm: Bengal intellectuals happy with regime change
Prominent intellectuals expressed their happiness over the defeat of the 34-year-old Left Front government in the state and said the result was most expected as the people of the state were fed up with the misrule of the Marxists.
6:40 pm: Anna Hazare is anti-Dalit: Mayawati
Social activist Anna Hazare has laid bare his anti-Dalit mindset by not including even one member from the community on the anti-graft Lokpal Bill drafting committee, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati said. Full story
6:30 pm: Mandate 2011- Big winners, big losers
6:15 pm: It is a bit of a stretch to interpret the election results from four states as a vote of confidence in the UPA at the Center, but apparently that is how the markets have interpreted these results, with the result that the Sensex went up 195 points. Here's the story
6:10 pm: There is nothing quite so hilarious as the post-poll comments of politicians who find themselves on the losing side ("The people of Tamil Nadu have given me rest," is the reaction of DMK chief M Karunanidhi; presumably that was the single thought motivating the voters who have given the opposition over 200 seats out of 234). And then there is Sitaram Yechury's remarks are equally risible. For example, the results in Tamil Nadu are interpreted as a vote against corruption and misrule -- which begs the question, why cannot the results in West Bengal be similarly interpreted? Referring to West Bengal, he talks of the 34-year-long record in power, and says the state made many gains during that period -- which, again, begs the question, if that long rule as all about gains, why did the voters dump the Left so unceremoniously. Here's Yechury, spinning at his best.
6:05 pm: Declare Rajapakse a war criminal: Jaya tells Centre
Set to form the next government in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa said the Centre should declare Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse a "war criminal" for the "genocide" of Tamils in the island nation. Full story
6:00 pm: Money, muscle behind Kadapa by-poll result: Chandrababu Naidu
TDP President N Chandrababu Naidu alleged that both the ruling Congress and YSR Congress "back-stabbed the democracy" by distributing crores of rupees among voters for the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat.
5:55 pm: People have given me proper rest, says Karuna
Handed down one of the worst poll debacles, DMK President and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said the people of Tamil Nadu had given him ''proper rest,'' indicating the burden of office was removed from his ageing shoulders.
5:50 pm: After every reversal, Jayalalitha has swung pendulum like to the other extreme; once firmly hand-holding the Congress, she went the other way in 2001 when she returned after a spell in the wilderness, and cozied up to the BJP. That didn't get her much dividend either -- so the question is, which way will she go now? An interesting profile in CNN-IBN
5:40 pm: Oomen Chandy, 67, who has won the Puthupally constituency in every election since 1970, is all set to become Chief Minister of Kerala. A profile of the man known within state Congress circles as 'Queen Bee'.
5:35 pm: Tarun Gogoi, 75, who has just completed a hat-trick of electoral wins, while reflecting on his win said "good governance" was the reason the Assam electorate had reposed faith in the Congress for the third successive time. "Economic development won us the vote," Gogoi said, pointing out that his government had ensured economic development across the state. Unlike the AIADMK, which has indicated that it will form the government without its electoral allies, Gogoi further said even if and when the Congress wins a majority on its own, its ally the Bodoland Peoples Party wll be part of the government. The BPP, he said, had helped his party in "difficult times." Asked about his priorities, Gogoi said his top priority in the strife-ridden state will be to bring all insurgent groups including ULFA to the table for negotiations.
5:30 pm: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has registered the biggest margins of victory in the assembly elections. In Darjeeling GJM's Trilok Kumar Dewan defeated Gorakha National Liberation Front’s Bim Subba by 1,06,555 votes.
5:25 pm: Federal Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has been issuing statements since early trends began rolling in. In his first extensive, if largely impromptu, press conference, the senior Congress leader made several points:
#That the verdict in West Bengal is a clear indictment of the Left. "Some parties were destabilizing the Union government," he pointedly added in a clear reference to the Prakash Karat-helmed opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal that forced the Congress government, during the tenure of the previous Lok Sabha, to seek a trust vote in Parliament.
#That the verdict in West Bengal was a clear mandate for Mamta Bannerjee, who "within 13 years" could dismantle the entrenched Left in its sole real bastion.
#That a political party does not become irrelevant simply because it has lost an election.
5:15 pm: Controversial writer of Bangladeshi origin Taslima Nasreen has heaped praise on Mamata Banerjee and posted sarcastic tweets on the dismal performance of West Bengal's Left Front in the assembly elections, asking how Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee could lose when he threw her out of the state 'to get Muslim votes'. Details here
5:05 pm: The essential irony of the Tamil Nadu election result lies in this: that corruption on a humongous scale was what got Jayalalitha voted out in 2006, and corruption on an even more humongous scale is among the main factors underlying the decimation of the DMK in the current polls. Veteran journalist Pritish Nandy sums up the conundrum in this pithy post on his Twitter stream (@pritishnandy): "Jaya's first statement: People of Tamil Nadu have voted out corruption. This is exactly what Karunanidhi had said on defeating Jaya."
5:00 pm: Fresh from her victory today, Mamata Banerjee said TMC would like to retain Railway portfolio. "We have achieved a lot in the railway ministry and have done a lot of good for the people. As such, we have a legitimate claim over the Railway ministry," she said.
4:45 pm: Outgoing West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who earlier this afternoon resigned his post following the tidal wave that swept his party out of power, now has the further pain of knowing he lost the election to the Jadavpur constituency by a margin of over 16,667 votes to Manish Gupta of the Trinamool Congress. This is in cruel contrast to Kerala, where outgoing Chief Minister VS Atchuthanandan not only won his own seat, but almost single-handedly piloted the Left in what surprisingly turned into a very tight race.
4:40 pm: More good news for Jayalalithaa and her party AIADMK. The All India NR Congress (AINRC) and ally AIADMK are set to capture power in Puducherry. The combine is leading in 19 of 30 seats. The ruling Congress-led front is leading only in nine seats. Promoted by former Congress chief minister N. Rangasamy, this is the first electoral debut for the AINRC.
4:35 pm: In what is the first real official reaction to the defeat in West Bengal, outgoing Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Left Front chairman Biman Bose in a written statement said 'The results so far indicate the end of 34 glorious years of Left rule. The result is unexpected. We accept the mandate of the people and will strive to be a responsible and constructive opposition in the assembly.' The statement further says the Left front will identify the causes of the defeat and take definite rectification measures so as to undertake a continuous programme to regain the people's faith. Thanking the people for supporting the Left through 'difficult times', the statement says 'During the 34 years of Left front rule, the state's common people and poverty stricken sections have earned several rights. The leftists hope that the masses will endeavour to keep intact these rights and honour'.
4:25 pm: Elections in Tamil Nadu kicked off to the accompaniment of a dramatic confrontation between the DMK and the Congress, with the latter demanding 62 seats and the former fighting the demand tooth and nail, until finally forced to cave in. At the time of writing this, the DMK is being decimated in the state, and the Congress, which is part of the alliance, was leading in a mere eight seats, some of them by margins so slender, it is moot whether the final tally will in fact be even as many. So now that the pretensions of the Congress in the southern states has been shown up, what next? Yahoo's Padma Swaminathan reads the tea leaves.
4:25 pm: Veteran Congress leader and former Nagaland chief minister S.C. Jamir has lost to the ruling Naga People's Front (NPF) candidate Toshikopba Longkumer. Election officials announced that Longkumer defeated Jamir in the by-election by 1,320 votes.
4:20 pm: Jayalalithaa and Mamata Banerjee will now have to face the winner's curse, writes R Jagannathan in First Post. They have won with popular support, and will need luck to turn that goodwill into good governance.
4:15 pm: For the first time in the history of independent India, we have four women chief ministers (not to mention a woman President). And what is more, they rule over some of the most populous and/or politically and socially important states: New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu, holding the fortunes of over 30 per cent of India's population in their hands. A Hindustan Times story
4:10 pm: The only silver lining in the dark cloud now covering the Left (keep in mind that the defeat in West Bengal and Kerala comes after the drubbing in the last Lok Sabha elections) is the wafer thin margin of defeat in Kerala, a state that almost makes a fetish of throwing out the incumbent government, by sizable margins, in every single election. And it almost didn't have even this "accomplishment" to boast about -- keep in mind that when the party first announced its list of candidates, the shocker was that the then chief minister had been denied a ticket. It was only an immediate, and massive, popular protest that led to the Left brass reversing themselves and giving the 87 year old veteran a ticket -- and now, as the LDF exits left, in Kerala, consensus is that it was only the presence, as totem, of VS Atchudanadan that kept the LDF competitive in this election. Here is a story on the outgoing veteran, who has most likely fought his last election.
4:05 pm: It has been a long, checkered history -- and now it is over. Or more accurately, it is on life support. Here's a timeline of the Left in West Bengal
4:00 pm: Excerpts from Jayalalitha's post-win press conference:
I would like to express my profound gratitude to the people of Tamil Nadu. This is not a win for me, but for the people of Tamil Nadu and for democracy.
I could see, wherever I went, especially over the last three years, that the people were totally disgusted with the DMK government and were waiting for a chance to vent their anger. They were waiting for the elections. And once they got an opportunity they showed their anger and resentment in no uncertain terms.
Today our priority is to form the government and to rebuild Tamil Nadu. (She interrupts herself to instruct an aide to tell people to stop bursting crackers). It is not an easy task to rebuild an entire state. Renovation of a house involves just giving a coat of paint and carrying out a few repairs here and there. But when the house has been neglected and there is debris everywhere, then it is not an easy task.
In 1991, when I first took over as chief minister I found the previous DMK government had totally ruined the economy. We had the onerous task of rebuilding the economy. Again, when I took over in 2001, we found TN had been ruined; it had been written off by the World Bank. I took it up as a challenge and our government restored TN to fiscal health and we made it one of the foremost states of the country. Then again for some reason, in 2006, there was a change of government again, and this time the ruin that has been wrought is beyond description. If we say the challenge in 2001 was tough, today it has been magnified, multiplied thousand times over, but again we take it up as a challenge.
Our first and foremost priority is to restore the rule of law and order. We have released a comprehensive manifesto, and our first priority is to fulfill all those promises within one and a half years.
Responding to a question of how her relations will be with the Center, she said, "You will know the answer to that in course of time."
The date of my swearing in can be announced only after the Governor has invited me to form the government.
I would like to convey my profound gratitude to the people of Tamil Nadu for the decisive mandate given to my party. I would like to record my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Election Commission of India for a fantastic job done in holding a free and fair election.
(Throughout, Jayalalitha came across as calm, smiling, and relaxed. She refused to respond to questions about her immediate agenda, pointing out that she first had to meet with her elected party members, form a government, then sit in cabinet session to discuss next steps before she could comment constructively on such issues).
3:50 pm: She was born on July 14, 1919 and at 92, is the oldest serving politician in Kerala. She has been winning elections since 1952 -- when she was first elected to what was then known as the Travancore Council of the Legislative Assembly, after a failed debut in 1948. She was revenue minister in the EMS Namboodiripad-led government in 1957; she has seen her marriage to TV Thomas break up following the 1964 split in the Communist Party, when she joined the newly formed CPM while her husband owed allegiance to the CPI. Ironically, 30 years down the line she was expelled from the CPM for anti party activities, and went on to found her own political outfit, the Janathipathiya Samrakshana Samiti, which went into an alliance with the ruling UDF. As past of that alliance she served in two UDF-led governments as Agriculture Minister. And now a long, distinguished political career that has seen her suffer just three defeats in 16 elections fought, ends -- KR Gowri, the grand old dame of Kerala politics, was defeated by P Thilothaman of the LDF. The story
3:45 pm: Upset wins will form a recurring theme over the rest of the day -- but perhaps few of those as yet untold stories will resonate as much as the story of Amit Mitra. The Secretary General of industry body FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) was written off as wooly-headed when he joined the Trinmool Congress, and not without reason -- a lesson from recent instances of business leaders attempting to contest elections has been that they gain little if any traction, thanks to their inability to play the political game. Mitra, however, went ahead with his plans to contest -- and has won the Khardaha constituency, defeating no less than incumbent Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta by a credible 26,154 votes. Mitra is now being spoken of as possibly the next Finance Minister of West Bengal. The story
3:20 pm: Rajnath Singh asks Centre to help farmers, breaks his fast
BJP leader Rajnath Singh asked the Centre to help the farmers of western Uttar Pradesh agitating over the issue of land acquisition.
Ending his 24-hour-long fast after drinking a glass of juice offered by senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, the former BJP president said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should come forward to save the lives of the farmers and a new act should be formed regarding land acquisition soon.
3:00 pm: How Mamata trounced the Left
The 34-year-old regime of the Left front has finally crumbled. Mamata Banerjee has created history by winning a majority in West Bengal. It's goodbye to the world's longest serving communist government in a multi-party democratic set-up. Bengal is all set for its first woman chief minister.
2:45 pm: Mamata: the single-woman army who crushed the mighty Left
There was a time when poverty forced her to become a milk vendor. That was the only way she could help her widowed mother bring up her younger siblings. Those difficult years steeled Mamata Banerjee, whose decades old one-point agenda -- of ousting the Communists from West Bengal -- finally became a reality Friday.
2:30 pm: BJP wins all three Karnataka assembly bypolls
Karnataka's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bagged all the three assembly bypolls held April 9, wresting two from the Congress and one from the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).
2:20 pm: It's now the turn of leaders from across the border to congratulate Mamata Banerjee. Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina has just called the Trinamool leader and said, "We will work together in fostering age-old ties between West Bengal and Bangladesh."
2:15 pm: Here are the numbers for those who want to know what's happening to Sun TV at the stock market.
2:10 pm: It is a neck and neck race in Puducherry as the ruling Congress-led alliance and the opposition front led by All India NR Congress (AINRC) have won four seats each in the 30-member assembly. The AINRC is leading in five seats and the Congress in two. The Congress is eyeing a hat-trick of victories, having ruled here for two terms.
2:00 pm: Senior AIADMK leader M Thambidurai says the AIADMK is headed for an absolute majority, and the party will not invite its electoral allies into the government. Jayalalitha, he said, will form the government on her own.
1:50 pm: Shafi M Cassim, a neophyte Congressman, has won in Palakkad. What makes his win unusual is that he is an MA and MBA, smart, educated, and very committed to bringing change to politics. To get a flavor of what he is all about, check out his Twitter stream.
1:46 pm: Mamata Banerjee rubbished fears that her party workers would attack CPM cadres. In her first post-win TV interview, she said her party had always maintained peace. She also said she was keen on governance and development.
1:45 pm: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi is scheduled to submit his resignation at 4 pm today, paving the way for the AIADMK's Jayalalitha to take over. In West Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya has already submitted his resignation.
1:42 pm: The CPM politburo is scheduled to meet on May 16 to evaluate the results of the assembly elections in West Bengal and Kerala.
1:41 pm: The lighter side: A joke doing the rounds now goes, "DMK chief M Karunanidhi has told the Congress he is willing to join the Congress-led government in Assam. After all, he has a large family to feed."
1:40 pm: Different strokes for different folks: In West Bengal, Mamta Bannerjee says her party will focus on rehabilitation, not revenge. In Tamil Nadu, Jayalalitha -- who likely will take office as Chief Minister on Wednesday -- says she will now act on corruption. The last time she "acted on corruption", some month and a half after taking oath of office, the television stations had a field day streaming live footage of police roughing up DMK chief M Karunanidhi at his residence and dragging him off to jail. Also jailed at the time were then Union Ministers Murasoli Maran, TR Baalu and 11 others, all over the Rs 11 crore 'flyover scam'. Now, with scams valued at multiple thousand crores providing her ammunition, the fun and games should begin any time now.
1:35 pm: Mamata, the wind of change
"Poribortan chai" -- Change is necessary. That was the single point agenda with which Trinamool, Didi and the frustrated people of Bengal in general approached this assembly elections. And going by the results so far, change is but inevitable in Bengal. A staggering 34 years later.
1:30 pm: Silver lining, meet cloud: With the Left facing a wipeout in West Bengal, with its chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee actually training in the polls, and with the LDF on the way out in Kerala, with the Left facing the prospect of not ruling any state, Sitaram Yechury prides his party on the fact that the UDF win in Kerala is "narrow". Talk of making lemonade when life hands you a big sour lemon!
1:25 pm: Here's news about a debutant politician in West Bengal. Abhijit Mukherjee, Pranab Mukherjee's son, is leading.
1:20 pm: Prime minister Manmohan Singh is right now in Afghanistan talking foreign policy, but he took time off to congratulate Mamata Banerjee and Tarun Gogoi on their election victories. Mamata is an ally, and Gogoi is a party colleague, so the prime minister has reason to celebrate.
1:15 pm: WB: Sometimes, it only takes 140 characters to ask a question central to events. Senior journalist Salil Tripathi (@saliltripathi) on Twitter just now: "Where is the man with an opinion on every issue in India- Prakash Karat - when he is needed most?"
1:12 pm: DMK ministers M R K Paneerselvam, Poongothai Aladi Aruna and others are trailing, and so is senior leader K Anbazhagan. Deputy chief minister M K Stalin is leading.
Assam: AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowarwy has lost Dharmapur to Congress candidate Nilamoni Send Deka.
1:10 pm: In Chhatisgarh, the ruling BJP is winning over the Congress in a by-poll caused by the death of an MLA. Ajit Jogi of the Congress is blaming it on "misuse of power" by the BJP.
1:05 pm: TN: Vijayakanth, the movie star hitched to Jayalalitha's bandwagon, is leading.
In Kerala, it is almost certain that a Congress-led coalition government will assume power. The UDF has taken a slender lead over the ruling LDF.
1:00 pm: Congress pols of varying calibre have been making congratulatory statements with an under-current of pats on their own backs; the trend seems to be to spin the results as a victory across the board for the Congress. Reality is different: in Tamil Nadu their national ally has been decimated; in West Bengal, Mamta Bannerjee is being given the kind of mandate that could prompt her to be even more intransigent in her relations with the national party, of whose alliance she has been a fractious member. In Kerala, the Congress-led UDF is marginally ahead (72 to 65 as we write this), but the fact that the LDF is doing as well as it has is the biggest surprise in a state that routinely flips the incumbent party out of power in every successive election. Given the wafer thin lead, this means the UDF will be forced to confront a very strong opposition in the state assembly, a contrast to the outgoing assembly where the LDF had 98 seats against the UDFs 42, giving the ruling party a clear mandate. Assam is a success story, yes -- but analysts tend to see that more as the success of Tarun Gogoi's leadership and administrative skills rather than a win for the central Congress leadership. Oh, and as pointed out in an earlier update, the Congress is taking a beating in the Kadappa by-election, where Dr YSR's son, a Congress rebel, and his mother have both won against official candidates by huge margins.
12:55 pm: CPI(M) was disconnected from people, says Somnath
Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who was expelled from the party by the politburo, gets his own back. "I am not a member of the CPM, so I cannot advise the CPM," is his response to a question on what advice he had for the party as it faced a comprehensive rout. The well-respected leader goes on to suggest that there was a serious disconnect between the party leadership and the people, and that the former failed to get a grasp on the mood of the people. More
12:50 pm: Investors dumped shares of the Maran-family controlled Sun TV Network and SpiceJet as the ruling DMK party headed for a defeat in Tamil Nadu.
12:45 pm: YSR's widow, son head towards huge wins
Establishing an unassailable lead of over 200,000 votes, YSR Congress party chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy was heading for a landslide victory in the Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency. His mother Y.S. Vijayalaxmi was also ahead of her rivals in the Pulivendula assembly by-election.
Riding on a sympathy wave in the family stronghold, the young Reddy -- son of late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy -- established a lead of 220,000 votes at the end of eighth round of counting.
12:40 pm: Jayalaliltha, all set to be Tamil Nadu's chief minister, is described as the state's "iron woman". Here's a profile
12:30 pm: Mamata Banerjee's simplicity has won her rich political dividends. "Her nondescript residence--a tiled single-storey house in a dingy lane close to the Kalighat temple--and equally simple attire comprising cotton saris, jhola bags and cheap hawai chappals, endeared her to the masses."
12:20 pm: Jayalalitha wins, Mamta wins, Sensex jumps over the moon. Okay, not quite that, but the markets reacted positively to the election results, with Sensex rallying by 200 points, and most index stocks reflecting that upward moment. While elections are the story of the moment, you can also follow the market movements, updated live, here.
12:10 pm: Assam: Tarun Gogoi credits his success in Assam to "development and peace". Full story
12:07 pm: WB: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has announced that he will resign as Chief Minister of 'West Bengal at 2 pm this afternoon. Per latest trends, the TMC with leads in 215 seats is set to wipe the Left, with 71 leading, off the map in the state for the first time in 34 years.
12:05 pm: As trends and results of assembly elections in four states keep pouring in, Chief Election Commissioner SY Quarishi's concerns continue to mount. A while earlier, he spoke of the possibility of Left-inspired violence in West Bengal in response to the TMC sweep, and asked for heightened security for the next ten days; in his latest, he asks all political parties to introspect about the use of money in the political process. Pointing out that Rs 70 crore has been seized from four states during the April-May election process (with Rs 60 crore being seized from Tamil Nadu alone), Quarishi says all parties are to blame for what is rapidly becoming an issue of enormous concern, and asked all parties to "introspect". Which, frankly, is unlikely to happen.
12:00 noon: NOW ON TWITTER
@rameshsrivats: As we speak, there is much celebration happening in the HQ of Maharaja wet grinders.
@ravikiranrao: Today's election results are an illustration of BJP's problem. It's enemy is Maths, not the Congress.
@chennaikaran TN voters have yet again demonstrated that they will not tolerate same brand of corruption for more than 5 yrs at a time
@bigfatphoenix Gotta love it when one party in Indian politics accuses another of corruption with a straight face.
@roydendsouza: Clear message for the Cong from Kerala, WB, Tamil Nadu: Candidate selection faulty, political sense of connection and ambition misplaced
@mdeii Sweeps are scary. Means opposition toothless in Assembly
@diogeneb: LDF or UDF, either way Kerala's going to get a govt that turns a DF ear to developmental demands
@pritishnandy: I love Indian democracy. Every few years, it changes everything around. Losers become winners. The arrogant are humbled.
@pritishnandy: Sonia rules India. Pratibha, Rashtrapati Bhavan. Sheila, Mamata, Jaya, CMs. Munni, Sheila rule our hearts. Kani to rule Tihar. Woman power!
11:59: Mamata live: She is asking her party workers to make way for people who have come to see her.
11:58 am: Mamata live: Mamata to supporters drenched in celebratory green gulal: "Go home and have a bath as it is very hot here"
11:57 am: Mamata live: "Victory of democracy, victory of the people..."
11:56 am: Mamata live: Mamata says it's 'sompurno joy' (complete victory) for Bengal. She also quotes 'Saare jahan se achcha' in her victory speech.
11:55 am: In Karnataka, where by-polls were held, the ruling BJP is all set to win all three seats. Details here.
11:53 am: Mamata live:: Prime minister Manmohan calls up Mamata to congratulate her. "I on behalf of Trinamool Congress thank the people of Bengal to come out in support of us. It's is all for the poeple of Bengal that we have done well in this assembly election," Mamata said.
11:50 am: Mamata live: It's a victory for maa, maati, manush, says Mamata Banerjee, exulting after trouncing the Left. Maa is mother, maati is earth, and manush is people.
11:45 am: TN: The Congress, which shared an alliance with the DMK. has fared poorly in Tamil Nadu. Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan has congratulated AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa. More
11:40 am: Assam: The Congress is all set for a third term in Assam. The opposition AGP has accepted defeat, saying the people's mandate must be respected. Details here.
11:35 am: TN: With the DMK losing badly, chief minister Karunanidhi's dreams of getting son Stalin to succeed him are dashed to the ground. But, to look at the bright side, it has also averted a succession fight within his family. His other son, M K Alagiri, now chemicals minister in the UPA government, was also keen on chief ministership.
11:30 am: Breaking news on CNN IBN: Buddhadeb Bhattacharya will resign as West Bengal CM at 2pm.
11:25 am: TN: So what cost DMK Tamil Nadu? Observers say the 2G spectrum scam hit the party hard. With A Raja in jail and Kanimozhi on the verge of arrest, the party was hardly in a position to present itself as a clean choice.
11:20 am: WB: The Left Front accepted it had done badly in West Bengal, but said the debacle didn't mean the end of the battle. More
11:15 am: WB: With the Left losing power after 34 years, there is fear of violence in West Bengal. Are the communists bad losers? Will Mamata's men get into reprisal mode? The Election Commission isn't taking any chances. It is asking the security forces to stay in the state for 10 more days. More
11:13 am: Jaganmohan Reddy leads in Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh. His mother Y S Vijayalaxmi is ahead in Pulivendula. The by-elections were caused after they resigned from the Congress.
11:10 am: WB: TMC spokesperson Derek O’Brien tweets: The one traffic light in the world that was red for 34 years,just turned green #bengal
11:07 am: WB: Why was the Left routed in Bengal? Leftist ideologue A B Bardhan calls for serious introspection.
11:05 am: WB: The TMC is leading in 146 seats, while the Left is leading in 67. The trends suggest a comprehensive victory for Mamata.
11:00 am: The Election Commission has won praise for conducting elections with fairness and transparency. Election officials have witnessed how political parties used their money power to influence election outcomes. Bribing of voters is a worrisome trend, the Election Commissioner says.
10:55 am: Kerala: Chief ministerial probable Oomen Chandy has won Puthupally nine times since 1970. He is 67 now. He had served as chief minister between 2004 and 2006, after A K Antony resigned, owning responsibility for the Congress defeat in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
10:54 am: Puducherry: The ruling Congress has won two seats in the 30-member Puducherry assembly.
10:50 am: TN: Jayalalithaa, who is all set to take over as chief minister of Tamil Nadu, began life as a movie star. The state's love affair with the movies continues, with people continuing to support and elect people from tinsel town. This year, one of Jayalalithaa's major allies is the DMDK, led by actor Vijayakanth.
10:48 am: WB: Mamata Banerjee's victory is being described as a 'chappal revolution'. Reason: she never wears anything other than Hawai slippers.
10:47 am: WB: Former Lok Sabha speaker and expelled Marxist leader Somnath Chatterjee says the CPM should start introspecting from 'top to bottom' on why the Left Front government was decimated in West Bengal.
10:45 am: WB: Celebrations begin in West Bengal. Mamata Banerjee all set to end 34 years of Left rule.
10:43: am: Puducherry: Chief minister V Vaithilingam wins Kamaraj Nagar.
10:40 am: Kerala: Chief minister Achuthanandan wins Malampuzha.
10:37 am: All roads lead to Mamata's house
Thousands of supporters throng Mamata Banerjee’s South Kolkata house. A control room has been opened in the house where senior party leaders, including Mukul Roy and Derek O'Brien, are monitoring the results on television sets.
10:35 am: Kerala: A P Abdullakutty (Cong) wins Kannur. Industries minister Elamaram Kareem (CPM) wins Beypore. M K Muneer (IUML) wins Kozhikode South. M V Pradeep Kumar (CPM) wins Kozhikode (South). K Muraleedharan (Congress) wins Vattiyurkkav. M A Wahid (Cong) retains Kazhakkoottam. P K Vijayalakshmi (Cong) wins Manathawadi (ST).
10:31 am: TN: For the moment, the Congress says it is going to remain with the DMK, whether it wins or loses.
10:30 am: Cho Ramaswamy adds - Karunanidhi has lost because (a) he divided up the state among his family; (b) he was corrupt; (c) prices rose in Tamil Nadu; and (b) the power situation is dismal.
10:28 am: If Congress wants to wash their hands off the 2G scam, they have to come out of the alliance with DMK, says Cho Ramaswamy, editor-in-chief of Tuglaq
10:25 am: TN: Will the Congress dump the DMK at the centre? Analysts are divided on the question.
10:22 am: Puducherry: The Congress has won its first seat in Puducherry. Health minister E Valsraj retains his Mahe seat.
10:20 am: TN: Jayalalithaa leads in 148 seats, DMK in 40. It looks like Karunanidhi's rule is coming to an end.
10:18 am: The CPM office in Delhi is empty, reports a news site. Only Brinda and Prakash Karat are sitting around. Now that their bastion in West Bengal is gone, they will have a lot of time to introspect.
10:16 am: The exit polls were right. Jayalalithaa, Mamata Banerjee, and Tarun Gogoi are coming to power.
10:15 am: TN: Jayalalithaa leads in Srirangam by 1,100 votes.
10:10 am: WB: The TMC is all set to win an absolute majority, which means ally Congress may become dispensable. But, analysts say, Mamata needs Delhi as much as Delhi needs Mamata.
10: 06 am: TN: Celebrations have begun in front of Jayalalithaa's house in Chennai. Her supporters and dancing in anticipation of a huge win.
10:05 am: Rahul Gandhi's dreams of a Congress resurgence in 2014 are already in tatters, says political analyst Ramachandra Guha.
10:00 am: WB: More trends emerge that today is going to be Mamata Banerjee's day. Her party, the TMC, now leads in 63 seats, while the Left Front leads in 35.
9:55 am: WB: Mamata Banerjee's on the official TMC site: "We are not for the politics of bandh and bullets. We stand for development and peace."
9:52 am: Assam: Prafulla Kumar Mahanta of the AGP is leading by 3,500+ votes.
9:50 am: Kerala: Oomen Chandy of the Congress wins from Puthupally by a margin of 17,000 votes. He is the UDF's chief ministerial candidate in Kerala.
9:37 am: Regional parties are doing well in all states, posing a big challenge to the national parties Congress and the BJP. In Assam, the Congress is doing well by leading in 30 seats, but the smaller parties are leading in 20.
9:35 am: West Bengal: The BBC describes the change imminent in West Bengal as "a political earthquake".
9:34 am: Tamil Nadu chief minister Karunanidhi leads by 3,000 votes in Thiruvarur. His son M K Stalin leads by 2,000 votes in Kolathur.
9:30 am: While results emerge in four states and a union territory, UP is gripped by political drama ahead of next year's assembly elections. Chief minister Mayawati is accusing Rahul Gandhi (Congress) and Rajnath Singh (BJP) of hatching a conspiracy to unseat her over the Noida land acquisition row.
9:27 am: We asked our readers if it will be the end of Left's three decade rule in West. The majority says "yes". The current trend is also going in favour of the TMC. If Mamata comes to power in the state, the Union Railway Minister's seat will be up for grabs.
9:25 am: Kerala: For the first time since 1982, the ruling alliance is leading
9:20 am: Biman Bose of the CPM is angry with exit polls that predicted the rout of the Left Front. He has described the polls as "foolish" and "bogus", and alleged media houses received money to predict the downfall of the Left.
9:18 am: In Kerala, the exit polls have got it right. The ruling LDF and the Congress-led UDF are neck and neck.
9:16 am: Mamata Banerjee enjoys popular support, thanks to the causes she espoused in Singur and Nandigram. Agitations there drove out the Tatas, who wanted to set up car manufacturing units, from West Bengal. So the question being asked now is, "Will business ever warm up to Mamata?"
9:15 am: The TMC now leads in 35 seats, the Left in 10. CPI leader A Raja says these are early trends, and he will comment on the results only after clear numbers emerge.
9:10 am: Jayalalithaa and Mamata Banerjee are challenging well-entrenched governments in their respective states. That means women are spearheading the battle against parties often accused of violence and brutality.
9:05 am: The TMC now leads in 35 seats, the Left in 10. CPI leader A Raja says these are early trends, and he will comment on the results only after clear numbers emerge.
9:00 am: Smaller parties in Assam are leading in seven constituencies.
8:55 am: Tamil Nadu: Early trends favour Jayalalithaa. AIADMK leads in four seats, DMK in one.
8:50 am: Counting has begun in 48 constituencies in Assam. About 8,000 personnel are involved in the counting process.
8:45 am: In West Bengal, 14,500 personnel are busy in the counting process. Mamata's party is leading in eight constituencies.
8:40 am: West Bengal: TMC leads in eight constituencies, Left in none
8:35 am: Kerala: Chief minister Achuthanandan trailing.
8:30 am: Congress-led UDF and CPI(M)-led LDF appeared to be locked in a neck and neck race in Kerala Assembly elections for which early trends were available.
The international media and the national press have arrived in strength to cover the outcome of the assembly elections in India as excitement among people for all-important results is palpable throughout the states. We bring you the latest news and happenings from the five states that matter today. Refresh this page for the latest.
Mamata vs Left Front (West Bengal)
The mystery over the outcome of the toughest-ever electoral battle in West Bengal will be out in the open today.
Exit polls show the Trinamool Congress will win a landslide vote when ballots are counted to become the next leader of this state of 90 million, a population equivalent to Germany.
56-year-old Mamata Banerjee railed against the Marxist Left Front, which has ruled West Bengal, one of India's most politically important states, since 1977. She decried economic stagnation, slammed corruption and accused the world's longest-serving democratically-elected communist government of perpetrating political violence.
When asked what Trinamool Congress stood for, Mamata answered 'good governance, impartiality and a return to normalcy'.
DMK vs AIADMK (Tamil Nadu)
With mixed predictions by exit polls and pre-poll surveys, the ruling DMK and arch rival AIADMK are keeping their fingers crossed on what is in store for them when counting of votes start today.
The huge turnout in the elections has puzzled leaders of DMK and AIADMK fronts, with each interpreting it as a trend in their favour.
The DMK leadership, emboldened by an exit poll, is certain that they will head the state's first-ever coalition government, while the AIADMK maintains the party will gain an absolute majority to form a ministry on its own in the state.
Both DMK president M Karunanidhi and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa are understood to have finalised their teams in case they are voted to power.
While AIADMK has only the election results to worry about, the ruling alliance is pondering over other major issues that loom large in the backdrop of 2G investigations by the CBI.
LDF vs UDF (Kerala)
An air of anxiety pervaded ruling LDF and opposition UDF camps in Kerala with the political profile of the state for the next five years to be decided when counting of votes starts.
As in the past, the battle of the ballot this time too is between the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF and the opposition Congress-headed UDF, which have been alternating in power since 1982.
Elections for the 140 member Assembly were held on April 13, in what was one of the most bitterly fought elections in the state's history.
Most exit polls have forecast that UDF has a slight edge, but the gap between the two fronts would be narrow this time. The surveys have also indicated it would be a close call, adding to the anxiety in the two camps.
Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan seemed to draw comfort from the fact that all surveys had shown that a majority of voters acknowledged the ''good things'' done by the LDF government in the last five years.
In the initial stages, the UDF seemed to have had an edge, but the veteran Marxist leader's aggressive campaigning has injected hopes of victory in the LDF camp.
The stage is all set for counting of votes for assembly elections held in 126 constituencies of Assam even as both the ruling Congress and a divided opposition exuded confidence of forming the next government.
The three main parties, the Asom Gana Parishad, Bharatiya Janata Party and Asom United Democratic Front contested separately.
"We are confident of coming back to power for the third straighter term as people voted us for good governance, stability and peace," Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said.