Nandigram is witnessing a close fight with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her BJP rival Suvendu Adhikari engaged in a tight electoral battle. While Suvendu was leading by a significant margin after the first five rounds of counting, Mamata managed to get a lead in the sixth round. Over 10 rounds of counting will take place in Nandigram before the result is announced.
After Mamata Banerjeeâ€™s former close aide Suvendu Adhikari left TMC to join the BJP, she chose to fight from Nandigram against Adhikari instead of Bhowanipore in Kolkata from where she won in 2011 and 2016. Nandigram is also symbolically very important to Mamata Banerjee as she had launched her agitation here in 2007 against land acquisition, propelling her to power in the state and ending the 34-year-long Left Front rule.
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 exercise is underway in 108 counting centres spread across 23 districts of the state, where a three-tier security arrangement has been put in place. At least 292 observers have been appointed and 256 companies of central forces deployed at the counting centres.
In view of the rising number of coronavirus cases in the state, the Election Commission has decided to place tables at the counting halls in such a way that physical distancing norms are maintained. All the EVMs and VVPATs at the counting centres will be sanitised before the commencement of the process.
Of the state's 294 assembly constituencies, the most keenly watched will be Nandigram in Purba Medinipur district where Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee is contesting against her protege-turned-adversary Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP.
Exit polls were divided in their forecast for the West Bengal election, where the BJP ran a high-octane campaign in its bid to capture power in the state for the first time by ending Banerjee's 10-year-long reign.
An average polling of 81.87% was recorded in the eight phases.