Counting begins in 4 states, UT; DMK forges early lead in TN
New Delhi, May 10M Counting of votes cast in the April-May assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Asom and Pondicherry began at 0800 hours today, amid tight security.
Counting also began in the Lok Sabha byelection held in the Rae Bareli constituency of Uttar Pradesh, from where Congress President Sonia Gandhi is seeking re-election, and the Deeg assembly constituency in Rajasthan.
The crucial assembly elections in four states and one union territory are expected to determine the future course of relationship between the Congress and its key Left allies at the Centre.
It is a straight contest between the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala while the fight in West Bengal is between the ruling Left Front and an assortment of various parties, including the Congress, Trinamool Congress and the BJP.
The election in Tamil Nadu is also virtually a straight fight between the ruling AIADMK and the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA). Early trends showed DMK forging ahead in 12 seats, including Chepauk, from where party supremo M Karunanidhi is contesting, while the AIADMK was leading in five, including Andipatti where Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is seeking re-election.
The Congress is seeking to retain power in alliance with the DMK against the AIADMK in Pondicherry.
In Asom, the ruling Congress is pitted against the newly-floated Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF), Asom Gana Parishad and the BJP.
Polling was held in two phases in Asom, five phases in West Bengal, three phases in Kerala, two phases in Pondicherry and one phase in Tamil Nadu. Polling was by and large peaceful everywhere, due to the heavy deployment of security forces and the elaborate arrangements made by the Election Commission.