West Bengal Elections 2021 Live Updates: Will Mamata hit a hat-trick or will BJP breach Bengal bastion?

West Bengal Assembly Election 2021 Live News Updates: From Nandigram to Kolkata, the battle lines have been drawn and all eyes are fixed on Bengal to see who comes out on top.

West Bengal Assembly Election 2021 Live Updates: People across the country have their eyes fixed on the West Bengal election results as the BJP looks to break into the Opposition’s last bastion in the East.

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.

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.

After a poll campaign during which barbs were exchanged, lives were lost and Covid cases escalated in the state, today is going to be a long day for West Bengal.

Follow Live updates on Election Results 2021, here.

Mamata Banerjee aims to hit hat trick; BJP looks to capitalize on gains it made during 2019 Lok Sabha elections; Counting of votes commences amid the state recording over 17,000 fresh cases; Follow latest updates and trends here:

Catholic nuns from the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata stand in a queue to vote. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

What Exit Polls show

One point that all these exit polls agree upon is the fact that BJP can win well over 100 seats, which will be a massive jump from the three seats it bagged in the Assembly polls in 2016. Consequently, the saffron party’s vote share may also increase from 10% last time to around 43% as predicted by the India Today-MyAxis poll or just over 39% as predicted by ABP-CVoter. If the BJP vote share were to see that meteoric jump, it would mean that the saffron party has to win in most  Assembly seats under those Lok Sabha constituencies where it had won in 2019. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, when it won 18 seats, the BJP led in 33 of the total 68 SC-reserved Assembly segments in the state. Out of these 33 seats, 26 are Matua-dominated. The Lok Sabha results show there has been a swing in the SC vote towards BJP.

Healthcare workers carry out rapid antigen tests of journalists who will be present at the Netaji Indoor Stadium on May 2 during the counting of votes, (Express Photo: Partha Paul)

Bengal imposes new curbs to tackle Covid surge

A day after announcing a partial lockdown in the state, the West Bengal government on Saturday issued more restrictions to curb the rising number of Covid-19 cases.

In a new order, the state government said on Saturday that not more than 50 people will be allowed to be present at marriage ceremonies and other congregations.

“Marriage gatherings and other familial gatherings will also be seriously restricted and subjected to strict observance of Covid appropriate norms (e.g. strict use of masks, sanitizers, physical distancing, etc). Generally speaking, the number of invitees to marriages and other familial gatherings should be restricted to the minimum possible number, and at no point of time should there be congregations of more than 50 persons in any ceremony,” the order stated.

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