02 May 2021: Counting of votes begins for four states and one UT
This morning, the counting of votes began for Assembly elections that were recently held in West Bengal, Puducherry, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Assam.
The voting is underway at a time when India is devastated by the second wave of coronavirus. The country had registered more than four lakh fresh COVID-19 cases on Saturday, the highest figure across the world.
Here are more details.
Details: BJP is hoping to end TMC's winning streak
West Bengal had voted in eight phases and witnessed one of the most high-octane campaigns. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sent its biggest leaders to the state to seek votes and highlighted the faults in Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's governance.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo, who campaigned mostly on a wheelchair, had also shot back ferociously at the saffron party.
Leads: Early trends suggest a close fight in West Bengal
As per early trends, BJP has taken a lead on 119 seats and TMC on 126 out of the total 294 Assembly seats.
The saffron party also took an early lead in Assam, where it is seeking a second straight term.
At the time of publishing, BJP was leading on 63 out of the 126 seats and Congress+ on 40.
Nandigram: Banerjee is pitted against her trusted former aide
Undoubtedly, Nandigram is one of the most closely-watched seats as Banerjee is taking on her former trusted lieutenant Suvendu Adhikari.
For Banerjee, Nandigram holds special importance, as it was the 2007 land acquisition row in this rural area that catapulted her to power. Riding on the agitation's success, she ended the 34-year-long Left Front rule in West Bengal in 2011.
Kerala: LDF took a comfortable lead in Kerala, DMK in TN
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) took lead on 68 out of 140 seats in Kerala. The other prominent alliance, Congress-led UDF, was performing well on 28 seats.
In Puducherry, NDA surged ahead on eight of the 30 seats and Congress on four.
DMK and its partners were leading on 54 seats and the incumbent AIADMK on 27 out of 234 seats in Tamil Nadu.