Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress could pip the BJP to the post, though by a thin margin, suggest most pollsters. Of these, the more cheerful ones even suggest the mercurial chief minister may cruise past the half-way mark.
However, Republic-CNX gives the BJP a slight edge by projecting 138-148 seats for the party in the 294-seat Assembly and 128-138 to the TMC. The India Today-Axis exit poll suggests the verdict could go either way: the TMC is likely to win 130-156 seats, while the BJP is a notch ahead and likely to win 134-160 seats.
From all accounts, the gap between the bitter rivals could prove too close for Mamata’s comfort; the slender the margin the greater are the prospects of a post-poll spoiler coming into play.
But Mamata can take heart. The Times Now-C Voter has predicted a clear majority for the TMC by projecting 162 seats for the party and 115 for the BJP.
The exit poll results started trickling in after the voting for the last phase concluded in Bengal.
The BJP is expected to improve its vote percentage in a big way. According to India Today, the BJP is likely to garner a 43 per cent vote share while TMC is expected to get 44 per cent votes. For the BJP, this is a massive gain since the 2016 West Bengal Assembly election when it won just 3 seats in the state and had a vote share of 10 per cent.