New Delhi, May 23: Riding on a massive Modi wave sweeping through most parts of India, the BJP was set to return to power as it led on 295 seats while the Congress trailed far behind with 50, according to trends released on Thursday by the Election Commission for all 542 seats that went to polls.
According to the Indian Media, With its allies, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance could win 343 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha. In the last election, the NDA had 336 seats while the BJP accounted for 282.
In the politically critical state of Uttar Pradesh, where the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party had posed a stiff challenge, the BJP was leading on 58 of the 80 seats at stake. The SP was ahead on eight and the BSP in 11. The Congress was ahead only on one. Even Congress president Rahul Gandhi was in a neck-and-neck race in Amethi with BJP’s Smriti Irani.
The results are a resounding endorsement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity, his government’s achievements in the last five years and his campaign, which centred around national security and nationalism. He also relentlessly attacked the Congress for what he called its dynastic legacy, and blamed it for the country’s woes. The opposition had criticised the BJP campaign as divisive and polarising.
“The people on the ground are not buying the narrative of the opposition that people are under threat. People are doing well that they are looking forward to the next government of Narendra Modi. We have to realise that Modi’s government inherited very weak economy and he has done a phenomenal job,” BJP spokesman Amit Malviya said.
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, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana appeared untouched.
In Odisha, the BJP was ahead on nine of the 21 seats and Biju Janata Dal was ahead on 11. In 2014, the BJD had won 20 seats and the BJP took one. In Telangana, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti was leading on nine seats, the BJP on four and the Congress on three. The BJP ally, Janata Dal (United), was ahead on 16 seats.
As votes for the seven-phase parliamentary polls were counted on Thursday, the Trinamool Congress was leading on 25 of the 42 seats of West Bengal while the BJP was ahead on 15, up from two it held in 2014. The Left was wiped out in the state, once its citadel.
The DMK was ahead on 20 seats in Tamil Nadu.
As the trends came in, pointing to another tenure of Modi as PM, celebrations broke out in the BJP’s party offices across the country with people dancing to the sounds of drums.
The trends of the ruling party’s leads were in sync with the exit polls, most of which predicted that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would be on course to retain power for a second term.
In 2014, the BJP won 282 seats, leaving the Congress with an all-time low of 44 seats against the 206 it won in 2009.
The counting exercise is on in over 4,000 counting centres amid concerns raised by opposition parties over alleged tampering of EVMs. They have asked the Election Commission to ensure transparency in counting.
Election Commission officials said results are expected only by late evening.
The voting was staggered between April 11 and May 19 in which around 67 per cent of the nearly 900 million eligible people exercised their franchise to elect 542 members of the Lok Sabha from a total of 8,049 contestants.
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