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Assembly Elections wrap: Five TMC MLAs jump ship to BJP in Bengal; AMMK to tie up with AIMIM in TN; and more

While five TMC MLAs jumped ship to BJP in Bengal, a key alliance was forged in Tamil Nadu, and BJP announced its candidate for the Malappuram bypoll in Kerala. Here are all the important poll-related updates you need to know today.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
March 8, 2021 9:39:59 pm
TMC, BJPFive TMC MLAs join BJP in Kolkata (Express photo by Partha Paul)

With Assembly elections round the corner, the poll heat is on in four states, as talks about alliance and seat-sharing gain momentum, and MLAs switching sides add to the drama.

On Monday, while five TMC MLAs jumped ship to BJP in Bengal, a key alliance was forged in Tamil Nadu, and BJP announced its candidate for the Malappuram bypoll in Kerala.

Here are all the important poll-related updates you need to know today.

Denied tickets, five TMC MLAs join BJP in Bengal

Five Trinamool Congress MLAs, who were denied tickets for the upcoming assembly elections, joined the BJP on Monday.

Among those who joined the saffron party were three-time MLA from Singur Rabindranath Bhattacharya, four-time MLA from Satgachia in South 24 Parganas Sonali Guha, Basirhat Dakshin (North 24 Parganas) MLA Dipendu Biswas, Shibpur MLA Jatu Lahiri and Sankrail MLA Sital Kumar Sardar.

Apart from them, TMC’s candidate from Malda’s Habibpur, Sarala Murmu, and Bengali film actress Tanushree Chakraborty also joined the BJP.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “spreading lies and canards” against the TMC government, and said voters, this time, would witness ‘Didi versus BJP’ fight in all 294 constituencies of the poll-bound state.

Further, taking a dig at the PM over the inclusion of his photo in Covid-19 vaccination certificates, Mamata said “the day is not far when the country will be named after Narendra Modi”.

BJP won’t announce CM candidate in Assam before polls: Ranjeet Dass

BJP will not announce the chief ministerial candidate before the Assam polls and a decision in this regard will be taken by its parliamentary board at the time of forming the next government, the saffron party state unit president Ranjeet Kumar Dass said on Monday.

Incumbent Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and influential minister and convenor of the North East Democratic Front (NEDA) Himanta Biswa Sarma have also said the ultimate decision on selecting a person for the chief minister chair in the new government will be that of the party’s Parliamentary board.

This is in contrast to 2016, when BJP had projected the then Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal as its chief ministerial face before the elections were held.

Meanwhile, Sonowal on Tuesday claimed that the people of the state are “eagerly waiting” to bring back the BJP-led government to power with over 100 seats in the 126-member Assembly. He said the party is heavily banking upon the developmental work done by the NDA government and has sought another term to make Assam one of the best states in India.

“People of Assam have found a suitable performing government … They are very happy with the developmental work of our government … They are convinced that only BJP-led NDA government can provide security, peace and development,” Sonowal told reporters.

BJP to field AP Abdullakutty for Malappuram bypoll, CPI(M) to name VP Sanu

AP Abdullakutty AP Abdullakutty (file photo)

The BJP on Monday named AP Abdullakutty, national vice-president of the party, as its official candidate in the bye-election to the Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala.

The constituency fell vacant after its sitting MP P K Kunhalikutty of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) resigned from Lok Sabha in a bid to contest the upcoming Assembly elections in the state. The LS bye-election in Malappuram is scheduled to take place on April 6, the same day Kerala votes to form its next government.

This is the first time Abdullakutty will be in the electoral fray for the BJP since his entry into the party in 2019. He was promoted as the national vice-president of the party in September, 2020 and is seen as its most prominent Muslim face in Kerala.

Meanwhile, the CPI(M) is likely to name VP Sanu, the national president of the SFI, as its candidate in the Malappuram bye-election. A source close to Sanu confirmed the news and said a formal announcement will be made by the party on March 10.

Meanwhile, in Ponnani in Malappuram district, scores of men and women raised slogans demanding that local CPI (M) leader T M Siddique be made the party candidate. CPI (M) has finalised CITU all India secretary P Nanda Kumar as the party candidate in the seat, currently represented by Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan. The incumbent legislator is not contesting the polls, as he had completed two consecutive terms as a legislator, a norm introduced by CPI (M) in this election.

DMK signs seat-sharing deal with CPI(M); AMMK to tie up with AIMIM

After several rounds of talks, the DMK on Monday signed a seat-sharing agreement with CPI(M), allotting them six seats for the assembly election. The deal was signed by DMK president MK Stalin and CPI(M) state secretary K Balakrishnan at the DMK headquarters ‘Anna Arivalayam’ in Chennai.

Addressing the reporters, Balakrishnan said since they have a political responsibility to make AIADMK suffer a crushing defeat and also to stop BJP from gaining a foothold in Tamil Nadu, they have settled for six seats. The party leader added they will be contesting on their own symbol.

The AMMK will contest the elections from “as many seats as possible”, and will tie up with Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-Muslimeen (AIMIM).

Meanwhile, the ruling AIADMK, which struck a deal with Pattali Makkal Katchi(PMK) in the last week of February, is yet to arrive at an agreement with their ally Desiya Murpoku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) led by Captain Vijayakant. The talks between the two parties are struggling to progress as DMDK has been demanding a higher number of seats than what is being offered by the ruling party.

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