Kolkata: Riding on the development plank, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress seems headed towards a landslide win in the state assembly polls here on Thursday.
Trends available for all the 294 constituencies of the assembly showed the Trinamool was in the lead in 210 seats -- well past the two-thirds majority mark of 196 -- while its main contender Left-Congress alliance was virtually decimated with its candidates ahead in only 75 constituencies.
The Congress seemed to be doing better than the Left Front by leading in 40 constituencies -- Left candidates were moving in the first position in 35.
The BJP was ahead in six and its alliance partner Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in three.
The Trinamool seemed to be sweeping away all opposition in all but two of the 20 districts in the eastern state. It was only in Malda and Murshidabad districts where the Left-Congress alliance candidates were doing well.
In Murshidabad, the alliance was in the forefront in 18 of the 22 seats, while in Malda it led in eight of the 11 constituencies.
Almost all the frontline leaders of the Trinamool, including its supremo Mamata Banerjee, occupied the pole position in their respective constituencies. Power Minister Manish Gupta was, however, trailing behind his rival Sujon Chakraborty in Jadavpur.
The dismal scenario for the Left-Congress alliance was reflected in its unofficial chief ministerial candidate, CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra falling behind by over 4,000 votes against his Trinamool Congress opponent.
However, amid all the pervading gloom, one good news for the alliance was that former Congress president Manas Bhunia was leading in his constituency of Sabang.
In Kolkata, the Trinamool candidates had left their rivals far behind in 10 of the 11 constituencies in the city. However, in Jorasanko constituency, former state BJP president Rahul Sinha was in the lead.
The Trinamool virtually knocked out the opposition in the junglemahal area -- comprising forested stretches of mainly three western districts West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura.
It was also sweeping in Birbhum, Howrah and East Midnapore districts.
Mamata Banerjee had based her campaign on the development ushered in by her government and the various social welfare schemes it had launched.
On the other hand, the alliance had canvassed mainly on the corruption issue -- in the aftermath of the Narada sting footage that showed a number of Trinamool leaders accepting wads of currency notes in exchange of doling out favours to a fictitious company.
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