The year 2011 saw change of guard in seven states – in five of them by way of elections. In May, Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress uprooted the CPI(M)-led Left Front from West Bengal after nearly four decades, bagging 184 seats out of the total 294 with a success rate of over 81 per cent (the party fielded candidates in 227 seats).
Kerala also witnessed the demise of Left-led government though the margin of defeat there was wafer-thin. In a photo-finish, the Congress-led UDF secured 72 seats in the 140-member Assembly while the CPI(M)-led LDF finished four behind. Oommen Chandy of the Congress took over as the Chief Minister.
In neighbouring Tamil Nadu, AIADMK led by Jayalalithaa stormed to power knocking out the ruling DMK with a landslide victory. The party won an absolute majority on its own in the state Assembly. The AIADMK-led front grabbed 203 out of a total 234 constituencies while the DMK-Congress combine could manage only 31. Among the issues that nuked the DMK regime include the 2G spectrum scam, poor power situation, skyrocketing prices and deteriorating law and order.
In Assam, Tarun Gogoi achieved what very few Congress chief ministers could. He returned to power in the restive northeastern state for the third consecutive term and credited development and peace talks with rebel group ULFA for his success. The leading opposition party, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) finished a distant second.
Puducherry saw the All India NR Congress (AINRC) make a spectacular electoral debut in alliance with AIADMK winning a two-third majority in the 30-member Assembly. The AINRC led by N Rangasamy Rangasamy, who had quit Congress and floated a new outfit won 15 seats while its ally AIADMK secured five. The DMK-supported Congress rule would manage only nine seats.
Uttarakhand also witnessed a change of guard when the BJP removed Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank as chief minister and replaced him with ex-CM BC Khanduri in the wake of a series of corruption scandals.
In the Northeast, Arunachal Pradesh had to sail through a period of political instability after Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu was killed in a helicopter crash in the state’s Tawang district in May. While Jarbom Gamlin was made the head of the Congress government after Khandu’s demise, the party was forced to replace him too a few months later, with state party president Nabam Tuki following discontent among state legislators over his leadership.