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Mamata Banerjee is likely to return as the Chief Minister for the third consecutive term with the TMC leading in over 200 seats, while the BJP’s lead has slipped to 88 seats, as per early trends.

 

However, the Chief Minister herself is trailing in Nandigram by over 3,000 votes. Banerjee had contested against the BJP’s Suvendhu Adhikari, her ex-aide, whose December defection triggered a flood of exits from the Trinamool Congress.

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While Mamata Banerjee’s TMC will be hoping to overcome the anti-incumbency factor and come to power for a third consecutive term, the BJP will be trying to build on the big gains it made during the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 in the state. Exit polls have been divided over the final outcome, with some giving only a thin edge to TMC. However, they all agree on one thing — the contest in Bengal will be close and a victory for either TMC or BJP can be a matter of thin margins.

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The battle between Adhikari and incumbent CM Mamata Banerjee in the Nandigram seat will be one of the contests to watch out for. A decade ago, the protest against land acquisition in Nandigram was one of the key issues that had catapulted Banerjee to power in the State.