BJP makes history in Assam; TMC, AIADMK retain powerhttps://indianexpress.com/article/elections-2016/india/politics/bjp-makes-history-in-assam-tmc-aiadmk-retain-power/

BJP makes history in Assam; TMC, AIADMK retain power

Suffering a rout in the current round of assembly polls, the Congress could take heart only from the fact that it managed to wrest power in Puducherry from its breakaway group AINRC with a simple majority.

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With Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal as its Chief Ministerial face, the BJP and its allies AGP and Bodo People’s Front scored a landslide victory, cornering 86 seats in the 126-member Assembly.

The BJP on Thursday made history in Assam by getting its first government in the north east, decimating Congress which was dethroned in Kerala too even as two women Chief Ministers Jayalalithaa and Mamata Banerjee romped home for a second consecutive term in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

Suffering a rout in the current round of assembly polls, the Congress could take heart only from the fact that it managed to wrest power in Puducherry from its breakaway group AINRC with a simple majority. The high-stakes elections saw the end of Congress rule in Assam where it had scored a hat-trick last time under Tarun Gogoi.

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With Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal as its Chief Ministerial face, the BJP and its allies AGP and Bodo People’s Front scored a landslide victory, cornering 86 seats in the 126-member Assembly.

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The BJP won 60 seats on its own, up from 5 last time. The AGP bagged 13 seats and was leading in one while the BPF secured 13 seats. Last time, the AGP had 10 and BPF 12. The Congress, which had 78 seats in the outgoing Assembly, could bag only 26 this time. The AIUDF, led by Badrudin Ajmal, won 13 seats, against 18 which had made it the largest opposition party in the Assembly.

In neighbouring West Bengal, Trinamool Congress headed by Mamata Banerjee secured a two-thirds majority, fighting it alone against the Left-Congress combine. Bettering its performance over the 2011 elections, Trinamool Congress, which had then contested in alliance with Congress and won 184 seats in the 294-member Assembly, has now ended with 211 seats in its bag.

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The Congress improved a bit this time by getting 44 seats against 42 last time. Its ally CPI(M) registered a big slide as it got only 26 seats against 40 it had last time, while its allies CPI got one, Forward Bloc 2 and RSP 3. On the same eastern coast, Tamil Nadu defied its 32-year-old tradition and belied several exit poll predictions by handing a handsome victory to the ruling AIADMK led by charismatic Jayalalithaa.

Facing a tough opponent in the DMK-Congress alliance, the AIADMK managed to win 131 seats, 13 more than the halfway mark in the 234-member House. It was leading in 3 more. Although it got a majority, AIADMK slipped on its past performance of 2011 when it had got 150 seats. However, it is for the first time since 1984 that a ruling party has been voted back to power in the state.

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DMK, headed by 91-year-old M Karunanidhi, put up a strong fight and bagged 86 seats and was leading in 3 more. This itself will be a first of sorts in Tamil Nadu Assembly where the opposition will be in big numbers. Its allies Congress won 8 and IUML one. The PMK, which contested all the seats, and the third front headed by actor Vijaykanth drew a blank.

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Kerala kept with its tradition as it voted out Congress-led UDF and handed over reins of power to the Left Democratic Front. CPI(M)-led LDF regained power in Kerala cruising to a comfortable majority by inflicting a massive drubbing to the ruling Congress-headed UDF in the polls which saw BJP scripting history by opening its account in the state assembly.

LDF won 91 of the 140 assembly seats, including 6 independents backed by it. Among the coalition partners, CPI(M) got 58, CPI 19, NCP 2 and KC(B), CMP, RSP (L), JD(S) and Congress (S) got one each. On the UDF side, the Congress got 22, IUML won 18, KC(M) 6 and KC(J) 1. In all, the Congress-led front got 47 seats.

93-year-old V S Achutanandan, the face of the LDF campaign and CPI(M) polit bureau member Pinarayi Vijayan, Thomas Issac, E P Jayarajan and actor Mukesh are among prominent winners in the LDF. BJP’s leader and former Union minister O Rajagopal won from Nemom by defeating CPI(M) MLA V Sivankutty by a margin of 8,671 votes. Congress, which was routed in Assam and Kerala, got a consolation victory of sorts in Puducherry as the party along with DMK stormed to power in the tiny union territory with a simple majority. The alliance bagged 17 seats in the 30-member assembly.

Congress avenged its defeat in the 2011 elections at the hands of AINRC founder N Rangasamy, who broke away from the national party to form his outfit and rode it to power, as the ruling party fell by the wayside bagging just eight seats. Congress which contested 21 seats won in 15 seats. DMK emerged successful in two segments, giving the combine a clear majority as it bucked initial trends of a close fight with the AINRC when counting of the votes polled in the May 16 assembly elections was taken up.

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AIADMK, which contested the elections on its own, won four seats.