The counting exercise is on in over 4,000 counting centres amid concerns raised by opposition parties over alleged tampering of EVMs. Election Commission officials said results are expected only by late evening.
Riding on a massive PM Modi wave sweeping through most parts of India, the BJP was set to return to power as it led in over 300 seats while the Congress trailed far behind with about 50, according to trends released by the Election Commission for all 542 seats that went to polls.
Vote-counting trends suggest Modi's ruling alliance could win an even bigger parliamentary majority than in 2014, showing that the BJP not only held the northern heartland but made huge gains in the east, a political strategy that Shah launched.
Reacting to the victory, PM Modi said India has won again and together with everyone, a strong and inclusive nation will be built.
"Together we grow. Together we prosper. Together we will build a strong and inclusive India. India wins yet again," he said.
The BJP was leading in all the seven seats in the national capital, with three of its candidates ahead by over one lakh votes, while the Congress and the AAP were trailing at the second spot in five and two seats respectively.
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, who contested from the Northeast Delhi constituency against Congress veteran and former chief minister Sheila Dikshit and AAP's Dilip Pandey, was leading with a maximum margin of over 1.29 lakh votes.
Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir was leading by a margin over 58,000. So was Meenakshi Lekhi from New Delhi, leaving Congress' Ajay Maken on the second spot.
Chandni Chowk was the only seat where BJP candidate's margin was less than 30,000. Union Minister Harsh Vardhan is locked in a close fight with Congress veteran Jai Prakash Agarwal from Chandni Chowk constituency.
(Image courtesy: IANS, PTI,)
Modi himself was leading in Varanasi with a margin of over 1.5 lakh votes while party president Amit Shah was ahead in Gandhinagar in their home state of Gujarat by over 4 lakh votes.
"This historic victory in the General Elections is the outcome of Modiji's visionary leadership, Amit Shahji's dynamism and the hard work of millions of BJP karyakartas (workers) on the ground," Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.
In the politically critical state of Uttar Pradesh, where the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party combine had posed a stiff challenge, the BJP was leading in 58 of the 80 seats at stake.
The SP was ahead in eight and BSP in 11. Although the BJP had won 71 seats in the last elections, the performance is much better than what many exit polls had forecast.
The Congress Party was ahead only in one seat in Uttar Pradesh. Even, Congress President Rahul Gandhi was trailing BJP's Smriti Irani in Amethi by nearly 9,000 votes but was clearly ahead in Wayanad in Kerala with a lead of more than 1 lakh votes.
(Image courtesy: Reuters, IANS)
The Lok Sabha trends were staggering for BJP in the Hindi-speaking states, including those where Congress had won in the recent Assembly elections: in Madhya Pradesh, BJP was ahead in 28 out of 29 seats with a vote percentage of nearly 60; in Rajasthan it was leading in all but one of 25 seats; similarly in Chattisgarh, BJP was ahead in nine compared to Congress' 2 seats.
(Image courtesy: IANS, ANI)
The Modi wave not only swept through the Hindi heartland and Gujarat, as was expected, but also rippled through West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Only Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh appeared untouched. Even in Telangana, where it was expected to fare poorly, the BJP was ahead in four seats, the same as the Telangana Rashtra Samiti.
In Odisha, the BJP made huge gains, forging ahead in six of the 21 seats while the Biju Janata Dal was ahead in 15. In 2014, the BJD had won 20 seats and BJP took one. Odisha also held simultaneous Assembly polls, in which the BJD is set to return to power, indicating that the voters chose smartly, opting for the status quo in both state and centre.
BJP and its ally Janata Dal (United) were ahead in 16 seats each in Bihar out of 40 at stake.
The Trinamool Congress Party was leading in 22 of 42 seats of West Bengal while BJP was ahead in 19, up from two it held in 2014. The Left was wiped out in the state, once its citadel.
The DMK was ahead in 20 seats in Tamil Nadu while the AIADMK was leading in only two. In Kerala, the Congress-led UDF was ahead in 18 out of 20 seats.