Kolkata | Jagran Politics Desk: It seems like 'khela' won't end for the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal as the party is all set to retain power in the state for third straight terms. As per the available trends, the TMC was leading on 202 seats while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was ahead on just 77 seats.

However, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee was trailing from the high profile seat of Nandigram against her aide-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari. By the time of filing this copy, Suvendu had taken a lead of over 7,000 votes against Banerjee.

Though the TMC will most likely retain power in the state, Banerjee, as per the available trends, would likely lose the battle Nandigram, which leave us to one question -- can she continue as chief minister of the state.

As per the Article 163 and 164 of the Indian Constitution, a chief minister or a council of minister needs to be the member of the legislative assembly.

"The chief minister is elected through a majority in the state legislative assembly. This is procedurally established by the vote of confidence in the legislative assembly, as suggested by the governor of the state who is the appointing authority," it reads.

"A Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the Legislature of the State shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister," it says.

So even if TMC retains power in West Bengal but Mamata loses, then she would effectively have six months to get elected as the member of the legislative assembly. For this, some MLA from TMC would have to resign so that by-polls can be held on that seat.

This would give Banerjee a chance to stand from that seat and become a member of the 294-member West Bengal assembly.

Polling in Nandigram was held on April 1 in the second phase of West Bengal assembly polls.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma