The Election Commission has announced that nearly 824 Assembly constituencies would be going to polls in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, West Bengal and Puducherry.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said with the announcements of election dates, the Model Code of Conduct has come into effect. The Assembly elections would begin with West Bengal. West Bengal will be going to polls in eight phases. The first phase of polling begins on March 27, the second phase begins on April 1, the third phase begins on April 6, the fourth phase begins on April 10, the fifth phase begins on April 17, the sixth phase begins on April 22, the seventh phase begins on April 26 and the final phase begins on April 29.
The Chief Election Commissioner said that Assam would also go to polls on March 27 and will be conducted in three phases. The first phase will begin on March 27, the second phase on April 1 and the third phase on April 6.
Meanwhile, the two southern neighbouring states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu and Union Territory Puducherry would be going to polls on April 6 and would be conducted in a single phase. The counting of votes in all four states and the Union Territory will begin on May 2.
Arora also announced the last day of the Assembly terms in the four states. The Tamil Nadu Assembly will come to an end on May 24. West Bengal’s Assembly terms will end on May 30. The Assam Assembly will end on May 31 and the Kerala Assembly term would end on June 1. With the Puducherry government falling recently, President’s rule has been imposed in the UT.
West Bengal has 294 Assembly seats, out of which 68 are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) and 16 for Scheduled Tribes (ST). In Tamil Nadu, there are 234 Assembly seats, out of which 44 reserved for SC and two for ST. In Kerala, there are 140 Assembly seats of which 14 are for SC and two for ST. In Assam, there 126 Assembly seats of which eight are for SC and 16 for ST. In Puducherry there are 30 Assembly seats and five are reserved for SC.
The Chief Election Commissioner informed that 18.68 crore electors will cast vote at 2.7 lakh polling stations in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry. The number of polling booths has been increased in West Bengal and Kerala.
Arora said that the polls would be conducted with all Covid-19 protocols in place. He also paid tributes to those working on the election duty despite the Covid-19 pandemic. “Our tributes to the Covid-19 warriors, doctors, paramedics, nurses, researchers, scientists and all our officials on election duty,” Arora said, adding that all election officials will be vaccinated ahead of the elections.