Fighting incumbency and the opposition alliance of the Left and the Congress, the Trinamool Congress has a solid two-thirds majority having bagged a total of 211 seats. In the 294-member Assembly, the Left-Congress alliance did not make much of an impact despite prediction to the contrary by political pundits, as it captured 74 seats. The Congress, however, did better than its Left allies winning 44 seats. The CPI(M) bagged 26 seats, while the BJP won three seats as against a single member in the outgoing Assembly. In the Darjeeling hills, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha won three seats.
As it happened:
9.10 pm: And that's a wrap for the West Bengal Assembly elections today.
A number of heavyweights including five ministers, jailed ex-minister Madan Mitra, Indian soccer icon Bhaichung Bhutia and CPI(M) state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra lost in the today. The option of NOTA had very little takers in WB, according to PTI. Only 1.5% — counted till around 8 pm this evening — went for the None Of The Above option.
7.44 pm: PTI has this interesting report about the greenhorns from across the film, music and sport worlds rubbing shoulders with seasoned politicians. Former Bengal cricket captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla defeated his Congress rival Santosh Kumar Pathak and TV star Roopa Ganguly of BJP in the Howrah north seat. Bengali singer Indranil Sen has managed to woo voters as a Trinamool leader from Chandernagore seat. In South Basirhat seat, TMC's Dipendu Biswas, who have played both for Mohun Bagan and East Bengal football clubs, defeated BJP’s only MLA in the outgoing Assembly Samik Bhattacharya.
Actor and Trinamool candidate Debasree Roy once again won from Raidighi seat by beating CPI(M) veteran leader Kanti Ganguly. Sitting MLA and filmstar Chiranjeet Chakraborty retained his seat from Barasat.
Former BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya’s daughter Baishali won from Bally constituency in Howrah district on a Trinamool ticket. Former investment banker Mahua Moitra, who left her lucrative job as vice-president of JP Morgan in London to join politics, won Karimpur seat in Nadia district.
7 pm: They may have lost the battle, but the Congress-LF tie-up continues to be relevant, thinks CPI(M) State secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra. Mr. Mishra has admitted that “a majority of those who remained silent, voted for the Trinamool. The alliance had its faults”, IANS reports. He, however, attributed a “tacit understanding” between the Trinamool and the BJP behind the ruling party’s electoral triumph.
6.20 pm: The Narada sting operation seems to have failed to cut much ice with the West Bengal electorate. Five of the six Narada-stung nominees of the ruling party have emerged victorious, reports IANS. The only candidate to lose was Madan Mitra, the first former State Minister to contest the polls from behind the bars.
Five of the legislators caught in the sting — Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram, Frihad Hakim from Kolkata Port, Subrata Mukherjee from Ballygunge, Sovan Chatterjee from Behala East, and Iqbal Ahmed from Khanakul — retained their seats.
5.30 pm: We accept the verdict of the people of Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry & Kerala with utmost humility, says Congress president president Sonia Gandhi.
4.48 pm: “We accept the verdict of the people of W Bengal with all humility. Compliments to all comrades, supporters and those who have stood by us... We will introspect on the results. It is a challenge which we shall meet with all our strength. Lal salaam (sic),” CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury tweets.
4.19 pm: Industry leaders hailing Mamata win. CII’s Eastern Region chairman and Tata Steel MD T.V. Narendran says WB can play key role in the rollout of GST, long-billed as a potential game-changer for the Indian economy. “The decisive election victory of the TMC reaffirms the direction of the government and sets the tone for faster economic reforms in West Bengal,” he says. (PTI)
RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group chairman Sanjiv Goenka says Mamata's return is "a great news for those who want Bengal to join and win the eagerly-awaited race for economic development. (PTI)
3.55 pm: Former Indian football captain and Trinamool's Siliguri candidate Bhaichung Bhutia defeated by Siliguri Mayor and former CPI (M) minister Ashok Bhattacharyaby by 14,072 votes.
2.37 pm : West Benal CM and Trinamool SupremoMamata Banerjee wins from Bhawanipore by a margin of 25, 301 votes.
2.30 pm: West Bengal Finance and Industry Minister , Amit Mitra retains his Khardaha seat by defeating CPI(M)’s Asim Kumar Dasgupta by 21,200 votes.
2.10 pm: In West Bengal, we were hoping to improve our tally. But that did not seem to have happened: D. Raja.
2.00 pm: Left parties need to do “serious introspection” about their strategy in West Bengal, says CPI national secretary D Raja.
1.42 pm: Jailed former Minister Madan Mitra, key accused in the Saradha scam, defeated
1.38 pm:Surya Kanta Mishra, face of the united opposition and CPI(M) State secretary defeated. Here, Mr. Kanta addresses a press conference on the poll results at party office in Kolkata on Thursday. Photo: Ashoke Chakrabarty
12.54 pm: " MCCI ,a city chamber will support in all developmental endeavours in the state", says Manish Goenka president MCCI.
12.50 pm: Industry pledges full cooperation to Mamata government.
12.40 pm: Former CII chief Sanjiv Goenka says, this (the verdict) is good news for West Bengal's development.
12.25 pm: Congress has done a blunder by tying up with the Left, the alliance was a political blunder; I will take care of both majority and minority; Singur land will be returned
We are grateful to Ma Mati Manush >pic.twitter.com/L35VrTVzyH— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) >May 19, 2016
12.10 pm: Socio economic development for the downtrodden will be our priority, says Mamata Banerjee
12.07 pm: New government will take oath on May 27, 2016: Mamata Banerjee
12.06 pm: On May 20, 2016 at 12 pm all elected MLAs will meet and select leader of the party, says Mamata Banerjee
12.03 pm: In Bhawanipore, there was a terror, I will not blame EC for this. It was because of police. Politics during the polls have reached its nadir during polls; I will tell my political opponents take lesson from their experience; I appeal for peace; There will be victory march, says Mamata
12.01 pm: All smear campaign against Trinamool defeated, says Mamata Banerjee
11.47 am: Hemanta Basu Sarani one of Kolkata's busiest roads sees sparse traffic as most remained glued to TV on counting day, reports Indrani Dutta.
11.24 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi wishes Mamata Banerjee on election win
Spoken to >@MamataOfficial ji & congratulated her on the impressive victory. My best wishes to her as she begins her 2nd term.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) >May 19, 2016
Thank you so much for your kind wishes >@narendramodi ji— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) >May 19, 2016
11.04 am: West Bengal Minister for Women and Child Development Sashi Panja wins Shyampur seat from Kolkata.
10.37 am: TMC candidate and former cricketer Laxmi Ratan Shukla is ahead in Howrah Uttar seat by a margin of 1,266 votes.
10.33 am: Former state BJP president and national secretary Rahul Sinha is leading from Jorasakho constituency by 1,839 votes, where the collapse of a flyover on March 31 had killed several people.
10.30 am: State Food Supplies Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick is leading by 3,164 votes from Habra seat.
10.25 am: Women and Child Development Minister Shashi Panja is leading in Shyampukur seat by 4,667 seats.
TMC supporters in jubilant mood in Kolkata. Photo: Shiv Sahay Singh
10.19 am: TMC supremo leads by over 3,160 votes.
10.05 am: TMC Is clearly at this stage ahead with more than 200 seats in the first 4-6 rounds.
9.50 am: Latest leads: TMC 198, Left-Congress allinace - 69, BJP leading in 4.
9.38 am: Most of TMC Ministers are ahead
9.38 am: Mamata leads with 1499 votes after completion of first round of counting of votes in Bhawanipore.
9.34 am: Trinamool seems to be clearly ahead of the united Opposition. It is ahead in 178 of 294 seats after three rounds.
9. 25 am: Voting percentage of parties as per latest trends, TMC 48 per cent Left 19.2 %, Congress 11, BJP 10%.
9.24 am: Football start Bhaichung Bhutia, Trinamool candiadte from Siliguri, trails CPI(M) candidate Ashok Bhattacharya by 1373 votes, reports ANI.
9.20 am: BJP, which has one member in the last Assembly, is leading in 5 seats. Will have to see whether the saffron party will improve its tally.
9.15 am: Mamata Banerjee leading in Bhavanipur while former Minister Madan Mitra leads from Kamarhati.
9.08 am: "we will get more than the 2011 figures", says TMC Minister Arup Roy.
Suvojit Bagchi repots: After first two rounds TMC ahead in at least 95 seats, Left - Congress alliance in at least 32 seats. At least 12 round counting left.
9.00 am: According to latest trends the TMC is leading in 10, Congress in 3 and BJP leading in one seat, Soumya Das reports.
8.50 am: 13 more rounds to go across 90 counting centres.
8.49 am: As per the first trends released by the Election Commission, TMC is leading in two seats, reports Soumya Das.
8.47 am: First round of counting over, 13 more rounds to go.
8.40 am: TMC is leading in Chowrangee, Shyampukur, Belieaghata, Entally, Maniktala Assembly seats while BJP is leading in Jorasanko in Kolkata, reports Somwya.
8.33 am: News channels report that TMC is ahead in 30 seats. Left-Congress alliance in 4, Suvojit reports.
8.29 am: First trends are coming from Bardhaman. In three seats in Bardhaman, Trinamool Congress is marginally ahead, after first round of counting, reports Suvojit.
8.25 am: As per tradition, counting began with opening of the postal ballots and EVMs were opened immediately thereafter.
8.18 am: Kolkata Traffice Police have issued this advisory.
8.16 am: Minutes getting longer as the fist votes are being counted.
8.11 am: Supporters start trickling in at Kalighat residence of Mamata Banerjee, reports Shiv Sahay Singh from Kolkata.
8.08 am: Party cadres and supporters are asked to stay outside a radius of 200 metres of counting centres. Only counting agents of political parties are allowed to enter counting centres, reports Soumya Das.
8.06 am: Clashes between TMC and CPI ( M) reported from Bhatar in Bardhaman district. Houses of CPI (M) workers allegedly vandalised by TMC cadres.
8 am: Counting of votes begins in West Bengal, postal ballots are being tallied first.
7.55 am: Nasim Zaidi has this to say about Didi's criticism on EC: "We were discharging our duties, if someone criticised us then its their outlook."
We were discharging our duties,if someone criticized us then its their outlook:Nasim Zaidi,CEC on Mamata Banerjee >pic.twitter.com/kGwxitApHP— ANI (@ANI_news) >May 19, 2016
7.54 am: Security tightened outside counting centre in Siliguri, reports ANI.
Security tightened outside counting centre in Siliguri(West Bengal) >pic.twitter.com/ImtFpJ9Cee— ANI (@ANI_news) >May 19, 2016
7.52 am: But in the newsroom in Chennai, colleagues have predicted results on all the States except Tamil Nadu.
7.47 am: Will the stipends to imams, the setting up of Haj houses, a new campus for Aliah University, sanction for 400 madrasa hostels, and scholarships for Muslim students, yield Mamata Muslim votes?. > Read this article and post your comments.
7.40 am: A victory for Mamata will be a validation of her regime. > Read more
7.34 am: Success in West Bengal will help send CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury's stock shooting up, writes Smita Gupta. > Read more
7.15 am: Bhanu Joshi and Neelanjan Sircar of the Centre for Policy Research, in an oped piece in The Hindu, write that "Based on recent history, it’s hard to see the TMC losing the election this time. Ms. Banerjee has demonstrated the poriborton she promised. However, even if the TMC wins, she would be wise to remember that violent actors on the ground are notoriously difficult to control. After all, it was an inability to do so that led to the downfall of the Left Front after 34 years." > Read more
7.12 am: Agents of parties entering Netaji Indoor Stadium... counting of seven Kolkata seats there. Traffic around the stadium blocked, reports o ur correspondent Suvojit Bagchi. Follow him @suvojitbagchi
7.07 am:Our correspondent Soumya Das reports from Kolkata that unprecedented security has been thrown around counting centres in Kolkata and districts. As many as 78 companies of central forces have been deployed. "Within a 100 metre radius of the counting centre it is supposed be a pedestrian zone,” Additional CEO Dibyendu Sarkar said. Follow him @JournoSoumya
6.36 am.: The trends will trickle in by 10 a.m. and by 11 a.m. a broad picture will emerge. And by noon, a final picture on the shape of the next government in West Bengal will be known. According to Election Commission officials, the counting of votes will be over by 3 p.m.
> Exit polls have predicted Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) to beat back the anti-incumbency wave. The party is expected to make an impressive comeback in West Bengal.
6.28 am: While waiting for the counting of votes to begin at 8 a.m., pls do scroll down to catch a glimpse at how the elections went on. The key contestants, the hot seats and the most discussed issues.
6.27 am: Will the Bengal tigress get a second term or the CPI(M)-Congress combination succeed in dislodging Didi? Had Saradha and Narada swayed the electorate? How would the Muslim vote go this time? Will Narendra Modi and the BJP make a dent into the TMC-Left-Congress stranglehold on Bengal's politics?
Every question will be answered in a shortwhile from now.
Counting for the West Bengal Assembly poll began on Thursday morning amid tight security. The electoral fate of the Trinamaool Congress party and Left-Congress alliance will be known today.
6.26 am: Welcome to The Hindu 's live coverage of Assembly Elections 2016. We, T. Aravind and A.S. Nazir Ahamed of The Hindu 's Internet Desk will present you the minute-by-minute updates of West Bengal's D-Day.
6.20 am: Good morning.
Everything you need to know about West Bengal Assembly polls 2016:
Ms. Banerjee is contesting from Bhabanipur constituency in south Kolkata. > Read more ..
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and CPI(M) leader Surya Kanta Mishra after casting their votes in Kolkata and West Midnapore district respectively. Photos: Ashoke Chakrabarty/PTI
For the CPI(M)-led Left Front in West Bengal, Surjya Kanta Mishra is credited with standing up against the political onslaught of the Trinamool Congress. > Read more..
While the Left parties have questioned the credibility of the exit polls, the > Trinamool Congress said it will wait for the final verdict on May 19.
Police observers however, have varied views on the opinion and exit polls. According to them, the grey area is the conversion of the party's vote share into number of seats. This is difficult to predict, they say.
Political comentator Sumant C. Raman, questioned the mode of survey conducted by the electronic media on the recent exit polls. While the exact voting percentage itself arrived only before 10 pm on the polling day, how could it be possible for the channels to air the 'exit polls' by 6 pm, he asks. According to Mr. Raman, the so-called exit polls are more or less opinon polls.
Will the opinion/exit polls influence the voting pattern?. Yes, says former Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami. > During an online chat with The Hindu recently, Mr. Gopalswami said while the opinion polls influences the decision of the ‘floating’ voter, the exit polls will impact the voters more as it is perceived to be more accurate.
In a sense, the NDTV went on a 'safe side' with just projecting the vote shares of opposing parties and predicted the results based on the likely 'swings' that might happen in alternate polls.