Mamata Banerjee has defeated her protege-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari by a margin of over 1,200 votes in the high-profile battle over the Nandigram seat, according to several media reports.
This comes as an important victory for the Bengal chief minister, who had switched from her Bhabanipur constituency to answer the challenge from the TMC turncoat Adhikari in his seat.
Banerjee, a fierce critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had been trailling Adhikari during the first half of counting, being as much as 8,500 votes behind at one point.
However, things began to change around 1 pm, when Banerjee cut Adhikari's lead by more than half to just 3,775 votes.
By 3.30 pm, Banerjee had jumped into the lead by 2,331 votes in the 14th round of counting.
Banerjee's lead had shrunk to 820 votes as the final round of counting began around 4.30 pm, but she extended that margin and pulled off a narrow victory.
Adhikari who had supported Banerjee during the land agitation of Nandigram had resigned as the state transport minister in November 2020 and joined the BJP in December after a fallout with the TMC supremo.
He had easily won the seat in 2016 getting 1,34,623 votes compared to 53,393 votes for Abdul Kabir Sekh of the Communist Party of India (CPI).
A political victory for Adhikari over Banerjee would have made him one of the biggest leaders and burnished his profile.
Banerjee's TMC, with a 48.3 percent vote share, seems poised to return to power in Bengal and form a government for the third straight time.
Addressing reporters outside her residence, she said, "This is Bengal's victory. Only Bengal can ensure such a victory," she said.
"Stay safe, stay well. Follow COVID-appropriate behaviour. I request you to not conduct any victory march today."
She is likely to address a press conference later on Sunday as the ruling TMC maintains its lead in the state.