EC to announce election schedule for TN, WB this week

The schedule for elections to five state Assemblies, including Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, is expected to be announced by the Election Commission this week.

Last Updated: Feb 27, 2011, 14:12 PM IST

New Delhi: The schedule for elections to
five state Assemblies, including Tamil Nadu and West Bengal,
is expected to be announced by the Election Commission this
week.

The elections are also scheduled in Kerala, Assam and
Puducherry amid indications that the exercise is likely to be
held by the middle of April.

This will be first battle of ballot for the states
this year.

The ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu is facing an uphill task
with the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK is in the process of
stitching a formidable alliance with Vijayakanth-led DMDK.

The Left parties and the Vaiko-led MDMK are already in
the AIADMK front.

The talks are still on between Congress and the DMK
which has already brought the PMK on board.

The DMK is facing the elections in the midst of
controversy over the 2G spectrum scam which forced its party
nominee A Raja to quit as telecom minister.

In West Bengal, the ruling Left front is expected to
face its toughest political battle after remaining in power
for over three decades with an upbeat Mamata Banerjee is
likely to give a tough fight.

Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress has announced plans to
tie up with the Congress with which it shares power at the
Centre.

In Assam, the Congress is in power for the last two
terms and is unlikely to have any alliance with other parties
while opposition AGP as also BJP are getting ready for the
polls.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who represents the
state in the Rajya Sabha, has already made a visit to the
poll-bound state last month and announced several
developmental projects in an effort to improve the party`s
poll prospects.

The proposed peace talks with ULFA are also expected
to give a boost to Congress.

In Kerala, the Congress-led UDF is expected to give a
tough fight to the ruling LDF-led CPI(M) in view of the fact
that the Congress and its allies` good show in the last Lok
Sabha polls.

The Prime Minister had also made a visit to the state
last month when he inaugurated several projects in the state.
In Puducherry, the Congress is in power and would be
making every effort to retain it.

The Election Commission had already reviewed the law
and order situation in order to ensure free and fair polls in
these states.

The Commission has expressed concern over the
political violence in West Bengal and sent two teams of
independent observers to review the law and order situation in
the state.

The EC has also tightened measures to check the
growing money power in elections and gave series of
instructions to the Chief Electoral Officers of the five
states to check the menace such as paid news in order to
provide a level playing field.

PTI