The Election Commission is likely to announce the much-awaited schedule for the assembly elections in West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Friday afternoon.
It will announce the dates during a press conference at 3pm at its Ashoka Road headquarters in the national capital.
“The EC is likely to announce the schedules of all four assembly polls at the press conference,” a source said.
The elections are likely to be multi-phased in Assam and West Bengal and a single day affair in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala.
Soon after the announcement, the Model Code of Conduct would automatically be applicable on the governments of the poll-bound states as well as the Centre. The governments would not be able to announce any new schemes or programmes that may influence the voters, as per the code.
The political sweepstakes in the April-May assembly polls in West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry could be encapsulated in two words: survival and redemption.
Hitting a low in 2015 after a dream run the previous year, the BJP is looking to redeem itself. The Congress, ousted from power at the Centre and in four major states in 2014, can ill afford to lose two more and lend steam to the BJP’s Congress-mukt Bharat” slogan.
For the Left, a failure to wrest power in Kolkata or Thiruvananthapuram would raise questions on their political relevance.
There is much at stake for these national as well as for regional parties such as the DMK and AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.
The poll outcome would have national ramifications as well. It would have a bearing on the degree and pace of coalescence of anti-BJP forces, a phenomenon party president Amit Shah recently described as “BJP-versus-all or Narendra Modi-versus-all”.
Already hobbled by a lack of majority in Rajya Sabha, the NDA government would be confronted with a more belligerent Opposition in case of adverse results in these polls.