Even after a massive exodus from the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is likely to retain power in West Bengal, projected the Times Now-C Voter opinion poll.
As per the projections, the TMC is expected to win around 146 to 162 seats in the 294-member Assembly, down from the 211 seats Banerjee's party had won in the 2016 Assembly polls.
Meanwhile, the BJP which undoubtedly is the main challenger to the ruling TMC, is projected to win between 99 to 115 seats. Notably, the saffron party had won only three seats in the 2016 Assembly polls.
The Congress, Left Front and Indian Secular Front (ISF) alliance is expected to bag around 29 to 37 seats. The Left-Congress alliance had in 2016 won 74 seats. The Congress had won 44 seats, while the CPI(M) had bagged 26 seats.
For the uninitiated, West Bengal is all set witness eight-phased Assembly polls beginning March 27.
Addressing a press conference, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said: "West Bengal will see eight-phase elections. 30 Assembly constituencies in five districts will go to polls in the first phase on March 27. 30 Assembly constituencies in four districts will go to polls in the second phase on April 1. In the third phase, 31 constituencies in 3 districts will go to polls on April 6. 44 constituencies in five districts will go for polling on April 10."
"In the fifth phase, 45 constituencies in six districts will witness polling on April 17. 43 constituencies in four districts in the sixth phase will go to polls on April 22. 36 constituencies in five districts in the seventh phase will go for polling on April 26. In the eighth and final phase, 35 constituencies in four districts will witness polling on April 29," he said.
The counting of votes will take place on May 2, he added.