In normal circumstances, the forthcoming assembly elections would not have assumed this significance. On the one hand, the focus on probity in public life, the inability to contain inflation, and slipping governance standards are beginning to set the electoral agenda. On the other, there is considerable excitement that the elections would lead to a historical regime change, as in the case of West Bengal, where the Left Front has been in power for more than three decades. Given that the Congress party, which leads the United Progressive Alliance at the Centre, is a key contestant in each of these elections, it has made these assembly elections that much more important. The process begins on Monday with the initial phase of polling in Assam, the first after the government brokered peace with the United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa). While anti-incumbency will be a key issue in Kerala, corruption charges, inflation, as well as veteran chief minister M. Karunanidhi’s influence, will determine the electoral outcome in Tamil Nadu. Results of all assembly elections will be out on 13 May.
Also See | Assembly Polls: What’s At Stake (PDF)
Graphics by Yogesh Kumar/Mint