West Bengal Assembly elections
West Bengal Assembly electionsIANS

Update: 4:10 p.m. IST - Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar congratulated Mamata Banerjee on Thursday. 

"This result isn't surprising, I congratulate Mamata ji," Kumar was quoted as saying by ANI.

Update: 4:07 p.m. IST - Violence erupted in the state as TMC workers allegedly vandalised and set on fire a CPI(M) office in Asansol. 

Update: 12:28 p.m. IST - Trinamool Congress sweeps West Bengal with more seats than the 2011 Assembly elections. The party has won 211 seats against 184 in 2011. The election commission has not declared the final results yet. 

Update: 11:27 a.m. IST - Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Mamata Banerjee on Thursday for her "impressive victory."

"Spoken to @MamataOfficial ji & congratulated her on the impressive victory. My best wishes to her as she begins her 2nd term [sic]," Modi tweeted.

Update: 11:16 a.m. IST - TMC's Prodyut Kumar Ghosh is leading in Narayangarh constituency that was CPI(M) state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra's bastion.

Update: 10:47 a.m. IST - TMC supporters celebrated outside Mamata Banerjee's residence in West Bengal as pollsters projected her winning by 3,000 votes in Bhabanipur. 

Update: 10:19 a.m. IST - Mamata Banerjee's TMC is leading in the state paving way for her return as the chief minister for a second term.

Update: 9:31 a.m. IST - TMC is leading in West Bengal with 129 seats, Congress-Left alliance has a total of 54 seats, BJP has nine and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has one seat.

Update: 9:04 a.m. IST - CPI(M) state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra arrived at the party headquarters in Alimuddin Street in Kolkata. 

Update: 9:01 a.m. IST - After first round of counting TMC has 13 seats, Left alliance has nine and the BJP has one seat in West Bengal.

Update: 8:48 a.m. IST - Mamata Banerjee's TMC has received 11 seats, Left has eight and the BJP has one seat so far, according to election commission data.

Update: 8:16 a.m. IST - Counting of votes in West Bengal is underway.

The exit polls have already projected West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress as the winner of the 2016 state Assembly elections, but the final result will be declared only after vote counting on Thursday.

Counting for the West Bengal Assembly elections 2016 is set to begin at 8 a.m. and will be over by 3 p.m. on May 19, 2016, according to NDTV. By noon the counting will start to show which party would actually form government in the state.

Elections in West Bengal were conducted in six phases. The first phase was divided into two parts as they were conducted in areas affected by Left-wing extremism. 

The Bharatiya Janata Party had hoped to gain a major vote share in the state. However, their hopes may be shattered as exit polls predict that Banerjee is set to return for a second term, and the right-wing party would gain between one and 14 seats. It could win an average of five seats.

There are 294 seats in the West Bengal Assembly and the TMC is projected to win between 163 and 243 seats, while the Left-Congress alliance would together get anything between 45 and 136 seats. 

Elections were also conducted in Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry between March and May.

Key candidates to look out for

Surjya Kanta Mishra, the face of the CPI(M)-led front, is a sitting MLA who has been elected five times from the Narayangarh Assembly seat in West Midnapore. Manas Bhunia, a veteran Congress MLA, has been sharing stage space with Mishra, after a brief misunderstanding. Ten-time Congress MLA Gyan Singh Sohanpal is another veteran to look out for.

Apart from that is BJP State president Dilip Ghosh, who is contesting for the first time. Also, there are celebrity candidates like Roopa Ganguly. The TMC have also not held back in fielding celebrities like actor Soham Chakraborty and footballer Bhaichung Bhutia.

The BJP, on the other hand, has fielded the nephew of freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose as well as actress Locket Chatterjee .