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Three major states just faced elections – Here’s what went down!6 min read

May 5, 2021 5 min read

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Three major states just faced elections – Here’s what went down!6 min read

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Last month, in the midst of the deadly second-wave of the coronavirus, four Indian states and one Union Territory faced assembly elections. These states included Assam, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and West Bengal.

Credit: Giphy

All eyes were on West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu – all three of which are important states. In WB, Chief Minister (CM) Mamata Banerjee’s party, called the Trinamool Congress or TMC, managed to win with ease; in TN, MK Stalin’s party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) came back to power after a decade; and in Kerala, the Left government made history by winning two consecutive terms, each lasting five years, bringing Pinarayi Vijayan at the helm of things in the state again. These results, which were announced last week, ended the month-long polling in the states.

Owliver’s Obscure Observations

In India, elections are held for:

Members of the Parliament in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

Members of State Legislative Assemblies.

Members of State Legislative Councils.

Members in village panchayats or city corporation councils.

*A by-election is held when a person of a particular constituent dies, resigns or is disqualified.


Through this column, our aim is to break down some of these complex and ancient political structures, and understand the impact these have on governance and every day life.

Owliver’s Obscure Observations

What is an assembly election?

Members of State Legislative Assembly are elected directly by voting, from a set of candidates who stand for elections in their respective constituencies. A constituency has a group of voters in a specified area who elect a representative. Every adult citizen of India can vote in their constituency. Candidates who win the assembly election are called Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) and typically hold their seats for a five-year term. These members from across the state hold meetings discuss matters relating to the creation of new laws, removing or improving the existing laws that affect all citizens living in that state. The total strength of each assembly depends on the state in question, and just like the Lok Sabha elections, which decides who will become the Prime Minister of the country, the assembly elections decide who will be CM of the state.

Let’s go state-by-state to understand what these elections mean for the people:

Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal:

This state has always been an important one when it comes to elections – what happens here politically, tends to impact the rest of the country too. This trend, which has been going on since British rule, continued in the 2021 elections too. Of the 294 total seats up for grabs, TMC won 213, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 77 seats. TMC, which is led by Mamata Banerjee (the only woman CM in the country!), is in power for the third consecutive after these elections.

Owliver’s Obscure Observations

What is ‘left’ and ‘right’ politics?

You must have come across the terms ‘left-wing’ and ‘right-wing’, but what does this mean? Imagine a line, where the further you get from the centre defines where your beliefs and ideologies stand. This line is a system of classifying political positions and parties based on their stance on issues, such as social equality. In the middle is where you find centrists, who believe in a bit of this, and a bit of that. Currently, the terms left-wing and right-wing are used for liberals and conservatives, respectively. Liberalism is a political and social philosophy that promotes individual rights and democracy. Conservatism, on the other hand, believes in traditional social structures and private property.

Kerala:

Pinarayi Vijayan

The state of Kerala saw the re-emergence of the Left Democratic Alliance (LDF) and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. For the last four decades, the LDF and the United Democratic Front have alternately been in power. The LDF is an alliance of left-wing parties in Kerala, and is the major political party in the state along with the UDF, which is led by the Congress party. LDF won the May 2016 election, and to power in the state for five years. It had a historic re-election in 2021 elections, where the reigning government won for the first time in 40 years.

Assam:

A total of 126 seats were up for grabs in Assam, and BJP managed to win 75 of them, bringing it to power for the second time. This is the first time a non-Congress party has won consecutive terms in the state.

Tamil Nadu:

MK Stalin

Representatives to 234 were elected in the 16th assembly election of Tamil Nadu. The DMK won, defeating the incumbent All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), making DMK’s president MK Stalin the CM. While the DMK has an alliance with the Congress, the AIADMK joined the NDA – a collective of right-wing parties that are led by the BJP. Despite the BJP’s repeated efforts to make an entry into Tamil Nadu politics or Dravidian politics, it has been unsuccessful. Dravidian politics defines the people, beliefs and culture of the Dravidian community – people living in the south of India. The original goal of Dravidian politics was to achieve social equality, but it later became about ending the domination of North Indian politics.

Puducherry:

The Union Territory of Puducherry, by definition, falls under the authority of the central government or federal rule’. Puducherry is currently under President’s Rule, which means it is without a local government, after the Congress-led government fell in February, just before completing its five-year term. This made the future uncertain for some time. Now, the All India N R Congress-led NDA has won a majority (33 seats) in Puducherry.

Owliver’s Obscure Observations

The 61st Amendment of the Constitution of India lowered the voting age of elections to the Lok Sabha and to the Legislative Assemblies of States from 21 years to 18 years in 1988!


(Law and Order is a weekly column that covers what’s happening in the world of
politics, law and international affairs)

Sources: Indian Express, India Today, The Hindu

Images: The Federal, PTI, Times of India