As counting of votes is underway in West Bengal Assembly elections, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is trailing by a slim margin in the key battleground seat of Nandigram. She is currently losing to Suvendu Adhikari, her long-time trusted aide who recently joined BJP.
According to the early elections trends posted by the Election Commission at around 10:15 AM, Banerjee has won 5790 votes, and Suvendu Adhikari has won 7287 votes.
Once a trusted aide of Mamata Banerjee, Adhikari joined the BJP last year along with other Trinamool Congress rebels in the presence of party leader and Union Minister Amit Shah at a rally in Midnapore. In the 2016 assembly elections in the state, Suvendu Adhikari won the prized Nandigram seat for the TMC. Mamata Banerjee vacated her existing seat of Bhowanipore to challenge her one-time “right-hand man”.
Interestingly, Adhikari played an influential role in the 2007 Nandigram movement that managed to deliver a definitive blow to the 34-year Left rule in Bengal and helped bring TMC to power in the state 10 years ago.
Nandigram falls in the Purba Medinipur district of West Bengal.
Exit polls have forecast a tight contest between the ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP in the eight-phase elections to the 294-member assembly.
The counting will decide the electoral fate of 2,116 candidates including nominees of the Left-Congress-Indian Secular Front alliance.
The exercise is underway in 108 counting centres spread across the 23 districts of the state, where a three- tier security arrangement has been put in place.