File photo. Photograph:( PTI )
Most of the exit polls on Sunday had predicted a win for NDA - some had even said that the victory margin will be a record.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is on course to win the 2019 Lok Sabha handsomely. The NDA is so far leading on 348 seats out of 542 on which the polls were held; the BJP's tally stood at 286. This is four more than the party's 2014 tally.
Thank you India! The faith placed in our alliance is humbling and gives us strength to work even harder to fulfil people's aspirations.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 23, 2019
I salute every BJP Karyakarta for their determination, perseverance & hardwork. They went home to home, elaborating on our development agenda.
BJP's victory was evident from the moment counting began at 8am on Thursday. The BJP's graph kept climbing leaps and bounds and by 9.30am, had crossed the halfway mark of 272 making it clear that the party is again going to form the government at the Centre under the leadership of Narendra Modi.
The BJP grabbed the pole position riding on the back of massive gains it made in north Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi - the Hindi heartland of India. Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state and one with the highest number of Lok Sabha seats - 80 - is ready to hand over 59 seats to NDA. Though it is less than its 2014 tally of 71, the party has still managed to emerge as the single largest party in the state against the combined challenge of Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). The 'Mahagathbandhan' is so far leading on 20 seats in UP.
Among the most shocking upset of this election came from Amethi, where Congress president Rahul Gandhi lost against BJP's Smriti Irani by 35,000 votes. In 2014, Rahul Gandhi had defeated Irani but by a narrow margin of over a lakh votes. Gandhi, who also contested from Wayanad in Kerala, won the seat by more than eight lakh votes.
The regional satraps, meanwhile, were able holding on to their forts. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav is ahead of Bhojpuri singer Nirahua in Azamgarh seat, his father and SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav is leading from Mainpuri. Another SP heavyweight Azam Khan is fighting a close battle against actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada from Rampur.
In Bihar, the BJP-led NDA is leading in 38 of the state's 40 seats. The party is in alliance with Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) and Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) in Bihar. As per the seat-sharing agreement between the three parties, the BJP and JD(U) fought on 17 seats each and LJP on six. In the opposition Mahagathbandhan, the RJD has contested 19 seats giving up Arrah from its quota for the CPI (ML), followed by Congress (09), RLSP (05), HAM (03) and VIP (03).
In the high-stakes battle between Union minister Giriraj Singh and former JNU president Kanhaiya Kumar, Singh emerged victorious.
Watch: BJP party workers celebrate in West Bengal and Mumbai
The most-watched state in the election clearly was West Bengal where the BJP was pitted against Trinamool Congress. What made the electoral battle interesting was the skirmishes reported from different parts of the state between TMC and BJP workers. The workers of both parties accused each other of electoral malpractices and violence. Most of the exit polls had predicted an unprecedented surge of the BJP in Bengal this election, BJP president Amit Shah had even said that the party will win 23 seats in Bengal. The predictions seem to be very close to the current tally on the BJP - it is leading in 18 of the state's 42 Lok Sabha seats. In 2014, last time it had just won two. The TMC, meanwhile, won 24.
Celebrations began at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi shortly after trends indicated that the party has already crossed the halfway mark of 272. BJP workers danced and distributed sweets among themselves.
Most of the exit polls on Sunday had predicted a win for Narendra Modi-led NDA - some had even said that the victory margin will be a record.