The historic election results in this state also stands out for its tally of history sheeters. According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), 35 per cent of West Bengal’s newly elected MLAs—the highest proportion among the states that went to the polls (Kerala excluded)—face criminal charges. The record for the remaining states is Puducherry with 30 per cent, Tamil Nadu with 29 per cent and Assam with 10 per cent.
Although the 2011 Assembly election will be remembered for the DMK’s decimation, it is worth recording that it gave Kalaignar his largest victory margin. Party President M Karunanidhi won by a margin of 50,249 votes—his highest ever in the 12 Assembly elections he has contested since 1957.
The number of crorepati candidates in the state increased to almost double since the last elections. According to the Assam Election Watch and ADR, in the 2006 Assembly elections, 22 of the 251 candidates (or 9 per cent of the candidates) were crorepatis. This year, 50 of the 331 candidates analysed (or 15 per cent) fell in the crorepati bracket. The richest was Abdul Muhib Majumder of the Congress, with assets worth over Rs 2.7 crore.
Technology was quite the star during Kerala’s Assembly elections. The state’s election commission introduced an SMS facility for voters to verify their name on the voters’ list. It also introduced, for the first time, live web-casting of votes from 97 sensitive polling booths.▪