An air of expectancy and political maneuvering began at Alimuddin Street, the CPI(M) headquarters, as the Left Front swept the polls to the 14th state assembly.
Coverage: Assembly Polls 2006
Left Front Chairman Biman Bose told reporters in his habitual confident manner, "We will garner more seats than the last assembly elections. People have gone out and voted for us."
He said, "In 1987, we got 252 seats. This time we should get somewhere near it. The number does not matter, the fact is we are winning by a huge margin. It is a reflection of the people's faith in us."
The Left Front leaders had gathered in Alimuddin Street to take forward their next plan of action as reports of Left swamped the polls.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee [ Images ] arrived at Alimuddin Street after recording a landslide victory.
He won the Jadavpur seat, defeating his nearest rival Deepak Kumar Ghosh of the Trinamool Congress [ Images ] by a margin of over 58,000 votes. "I thank voters for coming out in large numbers to exercise their franchise in favour of the Left Front," he told reporters.
A jubilant chief minister said his victory in the assembly elections was a manifestation of the people's faith in the Left Front. "It is our victory... my win symbolises the faith reposed by the people in the CPI-M's [ Images ] policies," Buddhadeb added.
Hectic political activities marked the party headquarters as leaders started trooping.
It is being learnt that Biman Bose and other senior leaders are closeted in a meeting at the party headquarters as the Left front looked set for the seventh consecutive term.
According to trends available, the Left Front has forged ahead in 226 of the 293 constituencies, while its main rival Trinamool Congress was trailing far behind. It was leading only in 28 seats, while Congress was leading in 25 seats.
However, the CPI(M) suffered a major setback in West Bengal [ Images ] when state Labour Minister Md Amin lost to Abdul Khaleque Molla of Congress by over 8,000 votes. Amin was the senior-most minister in the outgoing cabinet. He served as the acting chief minister in the absence of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee several times.
The CPI(M) also faced a setback when Congress chief whip Asit Mitra defeated party leader Rabindra Nath Mitra (CPI-M) by 3000 votes in the Kalyanpur constituency. Another shock was the defeat of Left Front chief whip legislature Rabin Deb in the Ballygunge constituency at the hands of Javed Khan of the AITC.
Jaydeb Hazra of the CPI(M) won the Nanur seat, defeating his nearest All India [ Images ] Trinamool Congress rival Gadadhar Hazra by 24,845 votes and CPI's Kamakhya Ranjan Das Mahapatra has bagged the Pataspur seat.
The Trinamool Congress has retained the Rashbehari seat with Sobhandeb Chattopadhaya registering a win.
Heavyweight Left candidates like Industry Minister Nirupam Sen, Power Minister Mrinal Banerjee, Health Minister Surya Kanta Mishra, Employment Minister Susanta Ghosh and Forest Minister Jogesh Burman are leading from their respective seats.
All India Trinamool Congress leader and Tollywood matinee idol Tapas Pal is leading in Alipore constituency in Kolkata [ Images ].