Kolkata, May 2 (PTI) The ruling Trinamool Congress looks set to retain power in West Bengal with its candidates leading in 202 of the state's 292 seats that went to poll against the BJP's 79, as trends were available for 286 seats.
Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee was, however, trailing her former protege-turned-BJP rival Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram by over 8,000 votes.
Belying expectations of a tight contest, the TMC candidates appeared galloping to victory, and, if the current trends hold, the party will easily form its third successive government in the state.
TMC supporters were seen celebrating with green 'gulal' at different places, including in front of Banerjee's residence at Kalighat.
Of the votes counted so far, the TMC has secured 48.51 per cent, while the BJP got 37.49 per cent, as per the Election Commission.
The Left-Congress-ISF alliance is leading in only two seats.
Two of the BJP Lok Sabha MPs -- Babul Supriyo, a minister in the Narendra Modi government, and Locket Chatterjee -- were trailing in Tollygunge and Chunchura seats.
Supriyo represents Asansol and Chatterjee Hooghly seat in the Lok Sabha.
However, BJP MP from Cooch Behar Nishith Pramanik was leading in Dinhata.
Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay, the TMC candidate for Bhabanipore that Mamata Banerjee vacated to contest from Nandigram, is leading his BJP rival Rudraneil Ghosh by over 22,000 votes.
Firhad Hakim, a state minister and Banerjee confidante, was also leading.
The TMC seems to have made huge inroads in Murshidabad and Malda districts, which have traditionally been the strongholds of the Congress.
The ruling party also seems to have regained some of the lost ground that it had conceded to the BJP in Paschim Medinipur district in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said that the trends indicate that the people of the state have given a befitting reply to the repeated 'attacks' on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Mocking the BJP, Chatterjee also said he wants to see the faces of those who had raised the slogan 'Is bar 200 par' (This time, over 200 seats for the saffron party).
'People are with Mamata Banerjee and they have replied to the derogatory comments and attacks on her and the populace of Bengal,' he told reporters here.
BJP national general secretary in-charge of West Bengal Kailash Vijayvargiya said that as per the trends, it appears that the people have decided to make Mamata Banerjee the chief minister of the state once again. PTI SCH PNT AMR SK NN NN