At the end of February 2021, the Election Commission of India had announced the schedule for 2021 General Elections to State Legislative Assemblies of four states (Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal) and one Union Territory (Puducherry). While the ruling Trinamool Congress looks to retain the 294 seat Assembly for a third term, it will be facing stiff competition from the BJP, and the Congress, Left and its allies.
In Bengal, the polls will be spread over eight phases, beginning from March 27 and continuing till the end of April. Election results will be announced on May 2.
Here are the voting dates further broken down:
First Phase: March 27
Second Phase: April 1
Third Phase: April 6
Fourth Phase: April 10
Fifth Phase: April 17
Sixth Phase: April 22
Seventh Phase: April 26
Eighth Phase: April 29
As per the recent opinion polls, the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool is expected to retain the Assembly, even as the BJP is projected to make huge gains.
The Times Now-C Voter Opinion Poll earlier this week for example contends that the TMC will win 160 seats, which is 51 seats lesser than its 2016 tally. The BJP, which won only three seats in 2016, is projected to push its tally to 112 this time around, while the Left Front-Congress-Indian Secular Front (ISF) alliance is likely to bag 22 seats. Mamata Banerjee remains the most favoured as Chief Minister.
Incidentally, the Election Commission of India has prohibited the conduct and publishing of any exit poll from 7 am of March 27 and 7.30 pm of April 29 by any form of media, in connection with ongoing General Elections to Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry and bye-elections to the House of the People and Legislative Assemblies of various states.