New Delhi | Jagran Politics Desk: In contrast with the trends suggesting a cliffhanger in West Bengal, the ruling Trinamool Congress is set to retain power in the state where the BJP was trying to set its feet and the decade-old rule of Mamata Banerjee. 

The cynosure of the elections, held over March and April as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic picked up pace to finally ravage large parts of the country, was the high-stakes, acrimonious contest in West Bengal where the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC looked set for a convincing win against the BJP.

The TMC was ahead in 202 of the 292 seats, way over the halfway mark of 147, leaving the BJP trailing far behind in 77 seats. It was a long way from the three seats in the last elections for the party, which fielded its top leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, but power was still elusive - if the trends translated into results.

Meanwhile, the saffron party-led NDA was on course to continue another consecutive term in Assam where it was leading on 84 seats, way past the majority mark of 63 in the 126-seat state assembly. 

In Kerala, the ruling LDF is leading in 88 of the 140 assembly constituencies while the opposition Congress-headed UDF was ahead in 50 segments. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was leading by 3,351 votes in his home turf against his nearest rival C Raghunathan of the Congress, according to Election Commission figures.

In Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister K Palaniswami was leading in his home segment of Edappadi in Salem district and leader of opposition and DMK president M K Stalin was ahead in Kolathur constituency here, according to early trends.

While the DMK was ahead in 135 seats, the AIADMK was in 98, according to trends. The trends indicated that the DMK was ahead in constituencies including Kurinjipadi, Neyveli, Virudhachalam.

In Puducherry, the AINRC-led NDA was leading in 9 seats while the Congress headed alliance was ahead in three segments after first round of counting of votes polled in April 6 elections, officials said.

Exit polls have forecast a tight contest between the incumbent Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress and the BJP in the crucial West Bengal assembly polls and put the ruling saffron combine ahead in Assam while projecting that the Left alliance will retain Kerala, a feat unseen in four decades.

For the Congress, the exit polls predicted that it may fall short in Assam and Kerala and lose in Puducherry to the opposition alliance of AINRC-BJP-AIADMK.

The only good news for the Congress was from Tamil Nadu, where the exit polls predicted that the DMK-led opposition alliance, of which it is a part, will trounce the AIADMK-BJP coalition.

The poll results in the four states and the UT are also likely to reflect how the handling of the COVID pandemic has played on the voters' mind.

Polling was held in eight phases in West Bengal between March 27 and April 29, in Assam in three stages on March 27, April 1 and 6, while votes were cast in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry in a single phase on April 6, when the COVID surge had begun in many of the states.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta