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VERDICt AND BEYOND

The incumbent CM of West Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, is all smiles. ?It is a clear mandate in favour of industrialisation,? he said hours after the Left Front?s victory in the state. The writing is on the wall of the Writer?s Building:

india Updated: May 12, 2006 01:36 IST

West Bengal Left Again

Total 293 Left Front 235 Trinamool 29, Cong 21

Bullish Buddha
The incumbent CM of West Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, is all smiles. “It is a clear mandate in favour of industrialisation,” he said hours after the Left Front’s victory in the state. The writing is on the wall of the Writer’s Building: the Buddha brand of reforms is here to stay. In his new term as chief minister, Bhattacharjee may enjoy a freer hand. The landslide win was just what he needed to silence the hardliners in the CPM politburo. With Mandate 2006, even the junior partners of the LF have acknowledged that their days of high-decibel protest against Bhattacharjee are numbered. It also means a less strident Mamata Banerjee.

Tamil Nadu Dmk’s Day

Total 234 DMK+ 163 AIADMK+ 68, Others 3

Will DMK, Cong marry?
M. Karunanidhi, the “Kalaignar” of Tamil politics, is back with his dark glasses and yellow shawl. But will the Congress share power with his DMK? With 34 MLAs, the Congress can demand its share — and thus taste power in Tamil Nadu after a gap of nearly 30 years. But like the communists, it is likely to provide support from the outside. Congress insiders say the DMK wants to project the image of a single-party rule. The Cong may ask the DMK to return the favour in Pondicherry. If the Congress decides to join the government, it will bring out in the open the factionalism. As a party MP said, “The state Congress won’t be able to suggest names for a coalition ministry without blood spilling.”

ASSAM King Cong

Total 126 Cong 52 AGP 24, Others 49

2nd term for Gogoi?
The Congress beat the anti-incumbency factor to become the single largest party with 52 seats. But it will need the help of smaller parties to reach the magical half-way mark of 64 seats. Coming in handy will be the 12 seats of its tribal ally, a faction of the Bodoland People’s Progressive Front.

Result: for the first time, the Congress will lead a coalition government in Assam. Will Tarun Gogoi be the chief minister again? The party high command is yet to take a call on that.