Reading Time: 2 minutesMay 16
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) set for a comfortable majority in the Lok Sabha, its candidates taking early leads in 265 of the 498 seats in two hours of vote count across the country.
The Congress, India’s oldest political party which has ruled India for a decade since 2004 at the head of the United Progressive Alliance, appeared set for an unprecedented rout.
The first result declared, in Bhagpat constituency in Uttar Pradesh state, went to the BJP. Satyapal Singh, a former Mumbai police commissioner, defeated RLD leader and Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh.
Information from the Election Commission indicated a BJP sweep in northern, western and central India, and the party was also making gains in states where it has been traditionally weak.
In a spectacular performance, the BJP was on the victory march in 25 out of 26 seats in Gujarat, 24 out of 25 seats in Rajasthan, all four seats in Himachal Pradesh, all seven seats in Delhi and four of five in Uttarakhand.
Officials said counting trends were now available in 498 of the 543 seats.
The stock market shot up on news of the imminent BJP victory.
Congress candidates led only in 47 of the 498 constituencies, that too mainly in the south, amid signs that the party might end up with a two digit figure for the first time in the Lok Sabha.
There has been no immediate word from Modi, now in Gandhinagar. But BJP activists broke into wild celebrations across the country, dancing to drum beat, bursting firecrackers and distributing sweets to all and sundry.
Congress leaders meanwhile have begun to admit defeat to the media.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi appeared headed for victory in her Rae Bareli seats but her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi led by a slender 1,000 votes after initially being in the second spot.
An army of officials began counting on May 16, the 550 million votes polled in the staggered Lok Sabha election that began April 7 and ended May 12.
Exit polls had predicted a victory for the BJP and its allies.