Assembly Election 2021 Dates, Election Commission Updates: The Election Commission of India on Friday announced the schedule for Assembly elections in four states — West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry. Voting for five assembly elections will begin on March 27 and counting of votes will be done on May 2.
Voting in West Bengal will be held in 8 phases starting March 27. The Model Code of Conduct has come into immediate effect with the announcement of polls in these states. All poll officials will be vaccinated against COVID-19 before elections for five assemblies, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said.
The West Bengal assembly has 294 seats, Tamil Nadu 234 seats, Kerala 140 seats, and Assam 126 seats. The Union Territory of Puducherry has 33 (3 nominated) seats in the assembly.
ASSEMBLY ELECTION 2021: FULL SCHEDULE
- Voting for phase 1 | March 27 (38 seats)
- Voting for phase 2 | April 1 (30 seats)
- Voting for phase 3 | April 6 (31 seats)
- Voting for phase 4 | April 10 (44 seats)
- Voting for phase 5 | April 17 (45 seats)
- Voting for phase 6 | April 22 (43 seats)
- Voting for phase 7 | April 26 (36 seats)
- Voting for phase 8 | April 29 (35 seats)
- Counting of votes on May 2
PUDUCHERRY AND TAMIL NADU
Phase | 1
- Date of Voting | April 6
- Counting of Votes | May 2
- Voting | April 6
- Counting of Votes on May 2
- Voting for phase 1: March 27 (47 seats)
- Voting for phase 2: April 1 (39 seats)
- Voting for phase 3: April 6 (40 seats)
- Counting of Votes on May 2
Ket takeaways from Election Commission's presser
# All poll officials will be vaccinated against COVID-19 before elections for five assemblies: Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora
# Postal ballot will be allowed only for sick, senior citizens, and essential service employees: CEC Sunil Arora
# Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will be deployed in all states going to polls.
# Only two people will be allowed to accompany the candidate while filing the nomination: Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora
# Voting period to be extended by an hour in view of the pandemic: CEC Sunil Arora
# One lakh one thousand polling booths will be set up in West Bengal: CEC Sunil Arora
# A total of 824 assembly constituencies shall be going for polls during these elections. 18.68 crore electors will cast vote at 2.7 lakh polling stations in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry : CEC Sunil Arora
# The Election Commission will appoint two special observers for West Bengal and a third can also be sent if required, he said in response to queries on whether enough arrangements are in place for the polls in the state, where many have been raising questions about political violence.
# Responding to questions on the increased number of phases in West Bengal, the CEC said when the EC assesses the law-and-order situation, the assessment is based on several factors. "Afterall the elections to West Bengal (assembly) in 2016 were in seven phases. The Lok Sabha was in 7 phases. So, 7 to 8 (phases) is not such a big deal because we also have to see the movement of forces, we also have to see the current charges and counter-charges (by political parties)."
# In the 2016 West Bengal assembly polls, the process, beginning from the date of announcement till the date of counting, was completed in 77 days.
This time, the period has been compressed to 66 days.
# In the 2016 polls, there were 77,000 polling stations, and 11,000 polling stations went to poll per phase. Due to distancing norms, the number of polling stations have gone up to 1.1 lakh. On an average, over 12,000 poling stations would go for polls in each of the eight phases.
# Arora said the Commission has requested the Ministry of Home Affairs to provide two or three BSF helicopters so that the observers can visit various places for on-the-sot checks. The helicopters would be utilised for all the four states and the Puducherry UT.
# On Assam, he said the number of phases have been increased from two this time keeping in mind the security scenario.
# Responding to questions on Tamil Nadu and efforts to curb the influence of back money, Arora said the state is "expenditure sensitive". He recalled that polls to Vellor constituency and RK Nagar seat had to be rescinded. He said the R K Nagar polls were rescinded on two occasions.
# Arora also said everyone on election duty for the upcoming polls will be vaccinated against COVID-19 before polling day.
# Also, webcasting arrangements will be in place at polling stations in critical and vulnerable areas, while adequate CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) deployment will be ensured, Arora said.
# All critical and vulnerable areas have been identified and advance teams have been already deployed across the four states and one union territory, he added.
# He said door-to-door campaigning will be restricted to five persons, including the candidate, while roadshows will be allowed with a maximum of five vehicles.
# According to Arora, the nationwide vaccination drive has made the situation more conducive for conducting elections and the Health Ministry has declared everyone on poll duty as frontline workers for vaccination purposes.
# Arora, who will demit office on April 13, also said all must be congratulated for the successful conduct of elections in Bihar last year despite the COVID-19 challenges and he is confident of success once again.
# The Commission also announced bypolls to the Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala and Kanniyakumari parliamentary seat of Tamil Nadu.
# The bypolls would be held on April 6 along with assembly elections in the two states. The results of the bypolls to Kanyakumari and Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha seats will be declared on May 2.
# The Kanyakumari Lok Sabha byelection was necessitated following the death of Congress MP H Vasanthakumar who died of COVID-19 in August 2020.
# Bypolls to the Malappuram seat were necessitated following the resignation of IUML leader K Kunhalikutty.
# The terms of the legislative assemblies of the four states will come to an end in May and June. In Puducherry, President's Rule has been imposed and the assembly kept under suspended animation after the V Narayanasamy-led Congress government resigned earlier this week ahead of a vote of confidence.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS)