The voting has begun in four states and one union territory for the legislative assembly elections on Tuesday. More than 20 crore people from West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry will cast their vote at 7 am on April 6.
The Tuesday voting is the single-phased assembly polls for Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. And, for Assam, and Bengal, it is their third phase. However, Bengal has five more polling phases which will end on April 29.
Here's all you need to know about April 6 assembly polls:
1. West Bengal phase 3 assembly election
Tuesday's election will be held for 31 seats. Over 78.5 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 205 candidates. In today's polling phase, the key candidates from Bengal are Swapan Dasgupta (BJP) and Kanti Ganguly (CPI(M)).
The Election Commission has imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC in all the constituencies, declaring them as 'sensitive'. Tight security arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful voting, with 618 companies of central forces being deployed to guard 10,871 polling stations.
2. Assam phase 3 assembly election
People will vote across the 40 constituencies in the third and final phase of the Assam assembly election on Tuesday. The final phase of voting will decide the fate of 337 candidates, including Himanta Biswa Sarma, and state BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass. Today's election will also decide the fate of 20 sitting MLAs--eight from the Congress, five from the BJP, three each from the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and the BPF, and one from the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP).
Altogether 79,19,641 voters -- 40,11,539 men, 39,07,963 women and 139 of the third gender -- are entitled to exercise their franchise in 11,401 polling stations. A total of 45,604 polling personnel have been deployed for this phase.
The BJP is contesting in 20 seats while its allies the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in nine and the United Peoples Party Liberal in eight, including a friendly contest between the BJP and the UPPL in Bijni.
The Congress has put up 24 candidates and its partners - the AIUDF in 12, the Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) in eight, and CPI(M) in one. The Congress and the AIUDF are engaged in friendly contests in the five constituencies of Jaleswar, Baghbar, Sarukhetri, Chenga, and Barkhetri.
3. Tamil Nadu assembly election
The first and final phase of polling in Tamil Nadu for 234 assembly seats also kicked off at 7 am today. A total of 3,998 candidates including heavyweights like Chief Minister K Palaniswami, Deputy CM O Panneerselvam, DMK President M K Stalin, AMMK founder TTV Dhinakaran and Makkal Needhi Maiam President Kamal Haasan are in the fray.
Palaniswami and Panneerselvam have a huge pressure to establish their position as the rightful heirs to the legacy of J Jayalalitha. While Stalin also has to establish his position within his family and party as the rightful heir to the legacy of M Karunanidhi. He also has pressure to reinvigorate DMK that has been out of power in the state for a decade.
The ruling AIADMK is contesting 191, with 23 given to the PMK and only 20 seats for the BJP. The DMK is contesting 188 and its ally, the Congress, 25. Moreover, Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) party is contesting 142 seats for the first time.
4. Kerala assembly election
Voting for 140 seats has begun. More than three crore voters will decide the fate of 957 candidates, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, 'Metroman' E Sreedharan, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy on Tuesday.
With this election, Vijayan is looking to retain power. His party, CPM, is contesting 77 seats, with 21 going to the CPI and the rest to smaller allies, including the JDS (four) and Sharad Pawar's NCP (three).
The Congress-led UDF is contesting on 93 seats, and the BJP is contesting on 113 seats.
5. Puducherry assembly election
Puducherry, which is currently under the President's rule, is looking to find its new chief minister with today's polling. The Puducherry assembly polls will decide the fate of 324 candidates across the 30 constituencies.