The Trinamool Congress' request for recount of votes in Nandigram constituency, where Mamata Banerjee has lost to BJP's Suvendu Adhikari by 1,736 votes, has been rejected by the Election Commission.
The Trinamool Congress had declared the counting process "fishy". Ms Banerjee had alleged "malpractices" and said she would approach the courts.
Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress is headed for a landslide victory in Bengal. The Trinamool won or was leading in 210 seats, while the BJP won or was leading in 80 as of 11:45 pm. However, for the most part of early trends, both parties were neck and neck.
"Let the Nandigram people give whatever verdict they want, I accept that. Nandigram was a sacrifice that was needed in the larger victory. We have won the state," said the Chief Minister.
The assembly election was spread over eight rounds of polling for a month amid the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The election saw a fierce contest between the Trinamool Congress and the BJP.
Both parties deployed their star candidates in the campaign. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah led the BJP campaign in Bengal, while Ms Banerjee was the main force for the Trinamool Congress during the campaigning phase.
Here are the live updates for results of the West Bengal assembly election 2021:
Mr Nadda said the party heartily respects the mandate of the people of Bengal and expresses its gratitude to them.
In a series of tweets, Mr Nadda thanked party workers, including BJP''s Bengal unit chief Dilip Ghosh, for their tenacity and hard work.
"The BJP will continue to work for the dream of ''Sonar Bengal'' and will take its ideology to every household in Bengal," Mr Nadda said.
"Women of Bengal and all over the country are telling you Mr Modi enough is enough," he added.
"I have been with Trinamool Congress now for 20 years, but I have never seen such an election in my life. It was a filthy campaign that was run by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah," Trinamool leader Derek O'Brien said.
"The Bharatiya Janata Party heartily respects the mandate of the people of Bengal and expresses gratitude to the people for this result. We thank Dilip Ghosh and all the workers for their tenacity and hard work. The BJP will continue to work for the dream of Sonar Bengal," BJP chief JP Nadda tweeted.
"Bengal has saved India. This is a victory of the people of Bengal and the people of India and the victory of democracy. Bengal has decimated BJP's ego," Mamata Banerjee said. "My first priority will be to work in the interest of the people - all who are affected by COVID-19... Despite all the efforts of the central forces, this has been a landslide victory for us. However, I appeal to everyone not to have any victory celebration due to the pandemic. The Election Commission fought with us just like BJP spokespersons. But we battled all and emerged victorious," she said.
"We are grateful to the people for this landslide victory. I have to start working for COVID19 immediately. The swearing-in will be a low-key event because of the prevailing COVID19 situation," said Mamata Banerjee.
"BJP has lost the elections. They played dirty politics. We faced the horror of Election Commission," said Mamata Banerjee.
"Don't worry about Nandigram. I struggled for Nandigram because I fought a movement. It's ok. Let Nandigram people give whatever verdict they want, I accept that. I don't mind. We won more than 221 seats and BJP has lost the election," Mamata Banerjee said.
"It seems that Nandigram might be going Suvendu Adhikari's way, but I cannot confirm a 100 per cent yet. What I am getting as we speak is that the last round of counting is going on and Suvendu Adhikari is leading by 1,622. Some are saying that this is how things may stand at the end. But I can only confirm when I know 100 per cent that that is the case," Mamata Banerjee said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said combating the COVID-19 situation will be the topmost priority of her government and dedicated her party's resounding victory to the people of the state. "For us, combating the COVID-19 situation will be the topmost priority... This is victory of Bengal and only Bengal can do it," she said in her brief message to party workers.
"All of you who have gathered here, I want to thank you all. You all have worked very hard. I am yet to speak to the media, so I will say what I have to at that time. This has been Bengal's big win. Till I address the press, I appeal to you all to go home and take a shower, sanitise well and maintain social distance from others. Please do not crowd around and indulge in celebrations," Mamata Banerjee said.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut praised Mamata Banerjee as the "Tigress of Bengal", as her party Trinamool Congress sets to retain power in West Bengal after the bitterly fought assembly election against the main rival BJP. It is "not easy to defeat Banerjee", even though the BJP worked hard and put in a lot of investment during the polls in West Bengal, Mr Raut said. "Congratulations Tigress of Bengal," the Rajya Sabha member tweeted after Ms Banerjee's Trinamool Congress surged way ahead of the BJP in leads.
With a Trinamool Congress victory imminent in West Bengal, congratulations poured in for party president and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. "Congratulations @MamataOfficial on your stupendous victory! Let us continue our work towards the welfare of people and tackling the pandemic collectively," NCP's Sharad Pawar tweeted. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in a tweet congratulated the people of the state for being "conscious" and hailed the workers' efforts in defeating BJPs "politics of hate". Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also congratulated Ms Banerjee.
Cricketer and Trinamool Congress candidate Manoj Tiwari has won from Howrah North seat.
"I think the election campaign became so communal and polarised that the people at the end voted to keep that out. So, I think that is where the BJP lost out. As for Mamata Banerjee, the electorate has given her a third consecutive term, and that means that she must do something to address the issue of governance and all other factors involving corrupt practices," author Sabarna Roy told NDTV.
"We must understand the heritage and culture of Bengal, and I feel we the BJP fell short on that account. We just couldn't influence the intellectual community in Bengal, something that Mamata Banerjee had done to defeat the Left in 2011. I feel that to counter Mamata Banerjee's minority appeasement, we the BJP indulged in polarisation. And while that worked in certain pockets, it didn't work across Bengal. Our approach must be an inclusive one," BJP's Chandra Bose told NDTV.
Mamata Banerjee has taken a slender lead of 1,453 votes in Nandigram in the 13th round of counting. This, after BJP's Suvendu Adhikari was leading as recently in the 11th round by almost 11,000 votes. With 4-5 more rounds of counting to go, the result could go either way.
Mamata Banerjee leading in Nandigram by 1,353 votes at the end of 13th round of counting.
"Despite the misuse of Central Government machinery and institutes like CBI, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax department, our beloved leader and @AITCofficial chief Mamata Banerjee has won the heart of West Bengal for the consecutive third time," tweets former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.
"An emotional day after fighting the world's most destructive force, MO-SHA's BJP. Filthy campaign aided by agencies and shameless Election Commission. A momentous day for India and Bengal. It is understandable that we are euphoric but we also know that during Covid we have to celebrate responsibly," tweets Trinamool's Derek O'Brien.
"We really don't want to celebrate but there was an anti-campaign against TMC. Our workers were under pressure. This mandate has given them energy. Still, we're telling them not to celebrate due to COVID situation: Sayan Deb Chatterjee, State Secretary of Trinamool Youth Congress, reported news agency ANI.
We really don't want to celebrate but there was an anti-campaign against TMC. Our workers were under pressure. This mandate has given them energy. Still, we're telling them not to celebrate due to COVID situation: Sayan Deb Chatterjee, State Secy, WB Trinamool Youth Congress pic.twitter.com/EG6of2YTqg- ANI (@ANI) May 2, 2021
"Despite being on the winning side, I appeal to all political parties that one thing they all must do is approach the Election Commission and protest the manner in which the elections were held. There is a pandemic and millions were exposed to a deadly virus and that is just wrong. Not just that, despite a win I will say that the Election Commission blatantly gave an open hand to BJP to do whatever they want without being penalised. Also the factor of religious polarisation - there was large-scale polarisation across Bengal and the Election Commission, which must ensure that doesn't happen, did nothing about it," political strategist Prashant Kishor told NDTV.
#WATCH | A police personnel instructs TMC supporters to stop celebrations in Asansol- ANI (@ANI) May 2, 2021
EC asks States/UTs to "prohibit victory celebrations urgently", also directs that responsible SHOs/officers must be suspended immediately and criminal& disciplinary actions must be initiated pic.twitter.com/QUuVO3CrzV
"Congratulations @MamataOfficial didi for landslide victory. What a fight! Congratulations to the people of WB," Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
"Three things have worked for Mamata Banerjee - 1. Playing the underdog. It has worked in the past for Indira Gandhi and more recently Arvind Kejriwal... now it has worked for Mamata Banerjee, who was seen in a wheelchair, being targeted by big leaders day and night. The underdog has given a stupendous performance. 2. The second thing that has worked for Mamata Banerjee is the consolidation of the minority votes. The BJP went so strongly with its Hindutva that the anxious minority community came together. That is something BJP must learn about states with a large minority population - that it must not go so strong with Hindutva. That being said, the Congress has been completely decimated in Bengal with Mamata Banerjee walking away with the complete minority vote. And 3. COVID-19 surge went against the BJP. The last three phases of election saw a huge Covid factor playing against the BJP, and Mamata Banerjee capitalised on it. If you see the last three phases of elections, the BJP's performance completely dropped," political commentator Arati Jerath told NDTV.
"We have a bone to pick with the Election Commission. More than 70 letters were written to the Election Commission by Trinamool MPs and more than 5,000 letters were written by leaders, but we managed to get only three replies from them," the Trinamool's Riju Datta told NDTV.
"I agree with N Ram, that Mamata Banerjee must focus on her governance. Bengal was a poorly governed state and had lot of issues like that of corruption and cut money. So, despite a win, the Trinamool must focus on improving Bengal. That being said, the BJP will surely hold them to task because the BJP is a formidable opposition wherever it is," political commentator Arati Jerath told NDTV.
The Trinamool is likely to settle with a number between 205 and 215, while the BJP may get 75 to 85.
The result will decide whether Mamata Banerjee, who has been in power for 10 years and is fighting the toughest election of her political career, has been able to thwart the challenge by the battle-hardened election army of the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
"Irrespective of the final result in Bengal, whether they emerge victorious or not, one thing is certain, that the BJP has successfully made massive inroads in Bengal - something that they had long aspired. It is not just about the political battle, but about taking the party ideology forward too for the party and its cadre," political analyst Badri Narayan told NDTV.
Trinamool's Mamata Banerjee is trailing BJP's Suvendu Adhikari by around 7,000 votes. She was trailing in postal ballots by around 1,500 votes and now with EVMs being counted too, Mr Adhikari's lead has grown to around 7,000 votes. However, this is the counting from Nandigram-1 - where the minority community votes are not a factor. Nandigram-2 is where the minority community plays a big factor and that is where Ms Banerjee looks to gain most from.
BJP's Suvendu Adhikari is leading in Nandigram with 7,287 votes, while his Trinamool rival Mamata Banerjee is trailing with 5,790 votes.
"It is premature to say that the Left is completely out in Bengal as these are still very early leads. But that being said, yes, there was a large amount of polarisation between the two political forces of Trinamool Congress and BJP in Bengal," CPI(M) leader Tikender Singh Panwar told NDTV.
The Trinamool is ahead in latest trends with 115 seats, while the BJP is leading in 107 as at 9:38 am.
The Trinamool and challenger BJP are locked in a neck and neck contest in West Bengal as counting of ballots is underway, with the ruling party having a slight edge. The Trinamool is ahead in latest leads with 97 seats, while the BJP is leading in 94 as at 9:28 am.
The Trinamool is ahead in latest leads with 83 seats, while the BJP is leading in 79 as at 9:10 am.
Even as counting is going on, Mamata Banerjee tweeted a tribute to filmmaker Satyajit Ray. "Maharaja Tomare Selam... Tribute to Satyajit Ray, legendary filmmaker, writer, composer, lyricist, illustrator, on his birth centenary. He is not only the pride of Bengal but also India & the whole world. He is an inspiration to people around the globe. #SatyajitRay100," Ms Banerjee tweeted.
According to these very early leads, Mamata Banerjee is seen to be losing in two of her strongholds, including that of West Kolkata. "And forget 2016, but actually going down from the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, is a big cause of concern for the Trinamool," Dorab R Sopariwala told NDTV.
The Trinamool is marginally ahead in latest leads with 49 seats, while the BJP is leading in 46 as at 8:49 am.
The BJP continues to maintain an edge in Bengal. Latest leads show BJP is leading in 41 seats while Trinamool is leading in 39 as at 8:39 am.
The BJP continues to maintain an edge in Bengal. Latest leads show BJP is leading in 32 seats while Trinamool is leading in 25 as at 8:29 am.
The BJP is leading in 23 seats while the Trinamool is leading in 18 as at 8:25 am.
The Trinamool is leading in 15 seats while the BJP is leading in 11 as at 8:19 am.
The BJP is ahead in 4 seats while Trinamool Congress is leading in 3 as at 8:13 am.
Very early first lead from West Bengal shows a gain for BJP.
The election results are seen as an early test of the impact the devastating second wave of the pandemic is having on support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP. Counting of votes in West Bengal will begin shortly. The second wave has overwhelmed hospitals, morgues and crematoriums and left families scrambling for scarce medicines and oxygen.
The BJP, which had just three seats in the 294-member assembly after the polls and went to win 18 out of 42 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, had pulled out all the stops in the West Bengal in a determined bid to oust Mamata Banerjee, a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and add another state to its tally of 17. The Left-Congress alliance is the third main contestant in the state.