Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is trailing in Nandigram by around 7,000 votes after four rounds of counting. Nandigram will have 17 rounds of counting.
While the BJP is hoping that its candidate, Suvendu Adhikari, a one-time aide of the chief minister, will hold onto the lead, the Trinamool Congress claims the scenario will change after the seventh round.
The early trends in Nandigram are in contrast to the rest of the state, where Mamata’s Trinamool Congress has a lead over the BJP in at least 50 constituencies.
For the first time in 12 years, since 2009, Mamata Banerjee chose a rural seat.
Banerjee left her Bhawanipore seat in south Kolkata, her home turf that she won for two terms, to contest from Nandigram.
Nandigram in East Midnapore is the cradle of land agitation movement that brought the curtains down on 34 years of Left rule in the state.
A career-defining battle
For Mamata Banerjee, winning Nandigram is as crucial as winning the state. A loss is Nandigram would be a major setback to her political career.
Campaigning was intense ahead of the elections.
Adhikari, who defected to the BJP from the Trinamool in December, carried out a highly polarised campaign in the area against Mamata Banerjee. The chief minister depended on the leaders of her land movement, while she took four houses across the constituency to supervise the poll preparedness.
On 10 March, the chief minister, while campaigning in a local market, injured herself. After a brief hospitalisation, she started campaigning in a wheelchair with the injured leg and remained like that until the campaign ended on 26 April.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)
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