Communists in India West Bengal ‘losing’ in vote count

Counting of votes has begun in five Indian states where assembly elections were held recently.In West Bengal, early trends show that the longest-serving democratically elected communist government in the world is set to lose power.In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the ruling DMK party also appears to be heading for an upset.Results are also due in Kerala, Assam and the union territory of Pondicherry. All the results will be out on Friday.Correspondents say the polls may again prove that the focus has shifted to regional parties in Indian politics.Voting took place over April and May. More than 140 million people were eligible to cast their votes at some 150,000 polling stations.In West Bengal the Communists and their allies face resounding defeat at the hands of Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) party.

Ms Banerjee says the communists – in power for 34 years without a break – have failed West Bengal’s 90 million people by causing its economic decline.The BBC’s Soutik Biswas in Calcutta says it looks like a clear landslide for Ms Banerjee.A large number of supporters have gathered outside her house, waving TMC flags and chanting victory slogans, our correspondent reports.In Tamil Nadu, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) opposition party led by Jayalalitha, has been leading in early counts.It is expected to oust the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party, a key federal ally of India’s governing Congress party.Ms Jayalalitha’s supporters have already begun distributing sweets and dancing in the streets of the state capital, Madras (Chennai).The DMK has been badly hit by the multi-billion dollar telecoms corruption scandal, which saw the resignation of DMK MP and former telecoms minister Andimuthu Raja. He denies charges of fraud and conspiracy.In Assam, the ruling Congress party seems to be heading for a re-election while Kerala appears too close to call. – BBC