For the first time in many years, the exit poll results announced by majority of the news channels and survey organizations were proved right in essence although they were far off the mark in West Bengal. Most of the channels appeared to be clever by giving four or five seats more to either the BJP or the TMC so that they can explain the result pointing at the possibility of five percent error. But the difference between their projections and the ground reality as shown by the results was huge. While most of the channel gave 130 to 180 seats to the TMC, no channel had given 200 plus.
Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress Party was leading in 216 constituencies while the BJP was ahead in less than 80. Mamata, however, lost the prestigious Nandigram election to her former aide and present rival Suvendu Adhikari.
In Assam, the BJP, the ruling party in the state, was given another term. The party was leading in 75 out of 126 constituencies. It is far ahead of its rival, the Congress party. There was no doubt in Assam about the BJP winning right from the minute the counting was started on Sunday morning.
In Tamil Nadu, the DMK, which was sitting in the opposition for ten years, is ahead of the ruling AIADMK in 145 constituencies. The ruling party which has partnered with the BJP was leading in 88 constituencies. It is not a bad performance on the part of AIADMK considering that it had lost its vote-getter Jayalalithaa and the party has been in power for two consecutive terms. Kamal Haasan, popular as hero in all the states in South India, has lost to a BJP candidate Srinivasan.
In Kerala, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) has created history by retaining power for second term. It was leading, at the time of writing this piece, 7 pm, in 97 of the 140 constituencies. It has broken a tradition, which has been in vogue for forty years, of voting for LDF and UDF alternately. The UDF is in a poor second position. It is leading in 42 constituencies.
In Puducherry, N. Rangaswamy’s AINRC-led alliance, which includes the BJP, was leading in 13 out of the 30 assembly constituencies while the Congress was ahead in eight.
Polling for the above elections took place in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. In most of the phases, voting took place when the country was struggling with second wave of Covid. On March 27, the first phase of polling, the toll of the people who were infected by corona virus was 62,000 and on the day of the last phase, April 29, the figure was 3.5 lakh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and more than half a dozen union ministers campaigned for the BJP in Bengal addressing huge meetings which could be super-spreaders of the virus. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also attended huge meeting in a wheel chair after she was hurt in the leg at Nandigram altercation. The comments of the Madra High Court as part of the oral observations that the Election Commission of India could be tried on murder charges was welcomed by majority of the people. The petition filed by the ECI in the apex court questioning the observations by Madras High Court was not considered worthy of examination.
No campaign elections is not the solution. We have to start national debate on election commission’s role in conducting elections as well as controlling the campaign according to Constitution of India.