What do another five years of Modi entail
Modi, by contrast, looked set to romp home in Varanasi Image Credit: Ramachandra Babu/©Gulf News


  • 67.11 per cent of the 909.9 million eligible Indian voters had cast their votes
  • Seven-phase elections
  • Over 8,000 candidates were in the fray for 542 seats
  • 272 seats needed to form the government

New Delhi: Update

Indians had voted. 67.11 per cent of the 909.9 million eligible voters had cast their votes in the seven-phase elections. Over 8,000 candidates were in the fray for 542 seats. With trends in all of the seats out BJP has consolidated its lead over rivals and is all set to return to power.

Final result: BJP wins 303 seats

BJP wins overall majority with 303 seats as Election Commission of India announces results for all the constituencies.

190524 results
Image Credit: Supplied

BJP wins 1 LS seat, 3 Assembly bypolls in Goa

Bharatiya Janata Party in Goa won one Lok Sabha seat, but lost the other amid a saffron tsunami in the country.

However, the BJP won three Assembly by-elections in the state, while losing the prestigious Panaji Assembly seat, which was held by the ruling party since 1994.

Victory in three Assembly seats has now put the BJP-led coalition government in the state on a firm footing, according to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.

Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik won the North Goa Lok Sabha seat by over 80,247 votes against his nearest Congress rival Girish Chodankar, who polled 1,64,597 votes.

Naik, a four-time MP, battled both anti-incumbency as well as a potential backlash from the aggrieved sections of Goa's banned mining belt, but managed to ride the proverbial Modi wave to victory.

BJP wins all five seats in Uttarakhand

Repeating the feat of 2014, the BJP scored a big victory in Uttarakhand bagging all the five Lok Sabha seats in the state.

In all the five seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party candidates won by more than 2 to 3 lakh votes.

BJP state President Ajay Bhatt scored an emphatic victory by 3.39 lakh votes against Congress General Secretary and former Chief Minister Harish Rawat from Nainital seat.

In Haridwar, BJP's candidate and former Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank defeated Congress' Ambrish Kumar by 2.58 lakh votes.

In Tehri, Maharani Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah of the BJP defeated state Congress chief Pritam Singh by nearly three lakh votes.

In Pauri, BJP National Secretary Tirath Singh Rawat crushed Congress' Manish Khanduri, son of BJP stalwart B.C. Khanduri, by nearly three lakh votes.

In Almora, BJP candidate and Union Minister of state for Textiles Ajay Tamta defeated Congress' Pradip Tamta by 2.32 lakh votes.

In 2014, the BJP had made a clean sweep winning all the five seats in the state.

BJP wins five seats in Delhi; leading at two

Maintaining its hold over Delhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party won five of the seven Lok Sabha seats here, while it was leading at two.

In 2014 the BJP had bagged all the seven seats here.

While Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party was second on all the seats in Delhi in 2014, it came third on five of the seven seats in 2019. The Congress was second on five seats this time.

The BJP had won on the East Delhi, New Delhi, North East Delhi, North West Delhi and West Delhi seats. It is leading on Chandni Chowk and South Delhi.

It won the West and the North West Delhi seats with a margin of over 5.5 lakhs.

Modi wins Varanasi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won Varanasi Lok Sabha seat by 479505 votes.

Seven former Congress Chief Ministers lose polls, two trailing

As the Congress suffered another debacle in Lok Sabha polls, several senior leaders of the party including seven former Chief Ministers lost their contests and two were trailing with big margins.

Three-time Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit lost from Delhi North East, former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat lost from Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was defeated from Sonipat, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh lost from Bhopal, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde from Solapur, former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma from Tura and former Karnataka Chief Minister Veerappa Moily lost from Chikkballapur.

Former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki was trailing behind Union Minister Kiren Rijiju in Arunchal West and in Maharashtra's Nanded, former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan is trailing behind Prataprao Patil Chikhalikar of the BJP.

While Shinde lost for the second consecutive time, Moily and Chavan were members of the outgoing Lok Sabha.

Gambhir wins East Delhi by 3,91,222 votes

BJP's cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir won the East Delhi Lok Sabha seat here by a margin of 3,91,222 votes over his Congress rival and former Delhi Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely. Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party came third.

While Gambhir bagged the seat with 6,96,156 (55.35 per cent) votes, Lovely got 3,04,934 (24.24 per cent) votes. AAP's Atishi was third with 2,19,328 (17.44 per cent) votes. Out of the total 12,57,821 votes, Bahujan Samaj Party's Sanjay Kumar was fourth with 19,090 (1.52 per cent) votes.

Bengal's BJP chief Dilip Ghosh wins Medinipur LS seat

BJP's West Bengal President Dilip Ghosh won the Medinipur Lok Sabha seat defeating Trinamool Congress' Manas Bhunia. Ghosh defeated Bhunia, a sitting member of Parliament from Rajya Sabha, by over 87,275 votes.

"Despite several violent attacks on me and our party workers, we brought political change in the state. People started believing that the Trinamool can be ousted from power by the BJP" Ghosh said. In 2014, Trinamool Congress' Sandhya Roy, a Bengali film actress, won the seat by 1, 85,128 votes.

SS Ahluwalia wins Bengal's Burdwan-Durgapur seat

Union Minister and Darjeeling's outgoing BJP MP S.S. Ahluwalia won West Bengal's Burdwan-Durgapur seat, defeating Trinamool Congress' Mamtaz Sanghamita by a slender margin of 2,439 votes.

Sanghamita won the seat in 2014 with a margin of 1,07,337 votes.

Former Trinamool MP Saumitra Khan who was expelled for "anti-party activity, and secured the saffron party's nomination from his old constituency Bishnupur, retained the seat by a margin of 78,047 votes over his nearest rival, Shyamal Santra of the Trinamool.

Rahul wins Wayanad with record margin

Congress President Rahul Gandhi won Kerala's Wayanad seat - the second seat he contested in the 2019 polls - with a record margin of 431,770 votes. Gandhi defeated his nearest rival P.P. Suneer of the Communist Party of India who secured 274,597 votes, while Gandhi got 706,367 votes. This margin of victory is the highest in the state for any Lok Sabha constituency.

Manoj Tiwari wins Delhi North East seat

Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari won the Delhi North East Lok Sabha seat, defeating his Congress rival and former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit by a margin of 3,66,102 votes. While Tiwari got 7,87,799 (53.9 per cent) votes, Dikshit got 4,21,697 (28.85 per cent) votes. Aam Aadmi Party's Dilip Pandey came third, with 1,90,856 (13.06 per cent) votes and lost his security deposit.

BJP wins 22, leads in 3 of Karnataka's 28 LS seats

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 22 seats and was leading in three of the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in Karnataka where the vote count was about to end.

In contrast, the ruling Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) allies faced a rout in the southern state, retaining only one seat each and forfeiting nine seats to the BJP.

The 22 seats the BJP won across the southern state are Bagalkot, Bangalore Central, Bangalore North, Bangalore South, Bellary (ST), Bidar, Chamarajanagar, Chikkaballapur, Chikkodi, Chitradurga (SC), Dharwad, Davanagere, Dakshina Kannada, Gulbarga (SC) Haveri, Koppal, Mysore, Raichur (ST), Shimoga, Tumkur, Udupi-Chikmagalur and Uttara Kannada. The BJP is leading in Belgaum, Bijapur (SC) and Kolar (SC).

Will not work with bad intentions: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised that he will not work with "bad intentions" and that he would like to move ahead by taking everyone along, leaving behind the bitterness witnessed during the Lok Sabha campaign.

Addressing the victory celebration at the party headquarters here, he said that the mandate won by the BJP-led coalition was the biggest development in the democratic world and reflected an abiding strength in democracy.

"With bigger mandate, comes greater responsibility...I will not do anything with bad intention and and will do nothing for myself.

"Who said what during the election campaign, for me it is past. We have to look to the future. We have to take everyone along in national interest. And despite such a majority, we will move with humility," Modi said.

Babul Supriyo defeats Moon Moon Sen to retain Asansol

Union Minister and BJP candidate Babul Supriyo retains the Asansol Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 197,637 votes over his nearest rival Moon Moon Sen of the Trinamool Congress.

Singer-actor-turned-politician Supriyo secured 633,378 votes while Sen got 435,741.

Supriyo had created a sensation by winning from Asansol in 2014, when BJP bagged only two LS seats from the state.

Chandrababu Naidu resigns as Andhra Pradesh CM

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu resigned following his Telugu Desam Party's defeat in Assembly elections.

Naidu sent his resignation to Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, who accepted it and asked Naidu to continue till alternate arrangements were made.

The Governor is set to invite YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) to form the government.

The YSRCP has won or leading in 149 seats in 175-member Assembly.

YSRCP chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has announced that he will take oath as the Chief Minister on May 30.

Rupee pares gains, settles 36 paise down at 70.02 vs USD

The Indian rupee surrendered all its early gains and closed 36 paise lower at 70.02 against the US dollar on Thursday after investors looked past the euphoria over BJP's election victory and shifted focus to macro-economic developments that will set the tone for the forex market going ahead.

The Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is all set to form the government at the Centre for a second consecutive term after having swept the Lok Sabha polls. At the interbank foreign exchange (forex), the domestic currency opened at 69.45 a dollar and gained further strength to touch a high of 69.37 during the day.

The domestic currency, however, could not hold on to the gains and settled at 70.02 per dollar, down 36 paise over its previous close. The rupee had settled at 69.66 against the US dollar Wednesday. On May 16, 2014 - the day when the 16th Lok Sabha election results were announced - the rupee traded around 58.74 against USD.

In line with weaker rupee on Thursday, the benchmark BSE Sensex erased early gains to end 299 points lower as investors booked profits after stocks soared to record highs.

Mohamad Bin Zayed congratulates Modi

His Highness Shaikh Mohamad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces has congratulated Narendra Modi over his party’s victory in the general elections.

“I was pleased to talk to my dear friend Narendra Modi, India’s PM, over the phone to congratulate him on his party’s election win,” he has tweeted.

“We look forward to working together to deepen our strong bilateral ties. The UAE wishes India & its friendly people more development & prosperity” Shaikh Mohammad added.

Modi only 3rd Indian PM to return after completing full term

Narendra Modi has achieved the distinction of becoming only the third Indian Prime Minister after Jawaharlal Nehru and Manmohan Singh to return to office after completing a full term with the results of the 2019 general election being announced on Thursday.

Nehru, independent India's first prime minister, had led the Congress to victory in the 1951, 1957 and 1962 Lok Sabha elections.

Nehru died in office in May 1964 and Lal Bahadur Shastri became the Prime Minister. He never faced a general election as he too died in office in January 1966 after signing the Tashkent Accord on restoring subcontinental peace after the 1965 India-Pakistan war.

Nehru's daughter Indira Gandhi, who was then the Information and Broadcasting Minister, became the Prime Minister and led the Congress to victory in the 1967 general election, albeit with reduced numbers.

Gandhi called elections a year early in 1971 and won a decisive mandate and saw the country win its biggest military victory the same year that saw the decimation of the Pakistani Army and the creation of the independent nation of Bangladesh.

Four years later, fighting off an opposition onslaught for her resignation after an adverse court verdict holding her guilty of electoral malpractices, Gandhi declared Emergency in 1975, due to which the elections which were due in 1976, were not held.

Indira Gandhi lifted the emergency in 1977 and called general election that saw a conglomeration of disparate parties under the Janata Party umbrella being swept to power.

That experiment lasted a little over two years and Indira Gandhi led the Congress to a resounding victory in the 1980 general election.

Indira Gandhi was assassinated in October 1984 and her son Rajiv Gandhi became the prime minister. He called early elections the same year that saw the Congress being returned with a thumping majority, winning 414 of the 533 seats where polling was held.

The Congress, however, lost power in the 1989 elections largely due to the taint of the Bofors gun purchase deal. V.P. Singh became the prime minister of a Janata Dal government that had outside support from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Left. However, the tensions generated over a 'Rath Yatra' undertaken by BJP leader L.K. Advani saw the party pulling out its support, which led to the government's collapse.

The Congress then propped up a dispensation headed by Chandra Shekhar but pulled out after a little over 100 days, accusing the government of spying on Rajiv Gandhi.

Elections were called early in 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated while on the campaign trail and the Congress rode to power on a huge sympathy wave.

P.V. Narasimha Rao became the prime minister and served a full term but the corruption taint again saw the Congress losing power in the 1996 elections.

The BJP emerged as the single largest party and Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the prime minister, but the government lasted only 13 days as it could not cobble together the required numbers in the Lok Sabha.

A United Front coalition then assumed office, first with H.D. Deve Gowda and then I.K. Gujral as the Prime Minister.

Not unexpectedly, the coalition experiment lasted just two years and elections were called in 1998.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee returned as Prime Minister to head a BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition that collapsed a year later. The BJP, however, retained power in the 1999 elections.

Riding what it believed was a popularity wave prompted by its "India Shining" campaign, the BJP called elections a few months early in 2004 but faced the mortification of being voted out.

Manmohan Singh then became the Prime Minister for the first time - and returned to power on May 16, 2009.

Riding a Narendra Modi wave, the BJP achieved majority of 282 of the 543 LOk Sabha seats (NDA 336) for which elections were held in 2014 and Narendra Modi was sworn in as India's 14th Prime Minister on May 26.

The NDA-BJP is set to replicate the effort in 2019 and Narendra Modi is al set to be sworn in for a second term.

PM Modi addresses BJP workers

Rahul Gandhi 'accepts will of the people'

Kerala, TN, Punjab account for half of Congress seats

Of the 50 Lok Sabha seats where the Congress is set to win, Kerala, Punjab and Tamil Nadu accounted for 31, according to Election Commission data.

As of Thursday evening, the Congress was set to win 15 of the total 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala, followed by eight seats each in Punjab and Tamil Nadu.

In 10 states -- Bihar, Goa, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -- and in the Union Territory of Puducherry, the Congress would win only one seat each.

The party failed to open its account in the remaining states and Union Territories.

BJP ally Apna Dal wins both LS seats it contested in UP

The Apna Dal, an ally of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, has won both the Lok Sabha seats that it contested from Mirzapur and Robertsganj.

Union Minister Anupriya Patel has won from Mirzapur while Pakodi Lal Kol has won from Robertsganj.

In 2014, the Apna Dal had contested only two seats, Mirzapur and Pratapgarh, and had won both. The party has thus maintained its 100 per cent success rate.

The breakaway faction of the Apna Dal, led by Krishna Patel, failed to win even a single seat. The party had contested on the Congress symbol as it did not have its own symbol.

Modi takes Varanasi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recorded a spectacular victory in Varanasi, clocking a margin of 475,754 votes.

Modi polled a total of 669,602 votes while his nearest rival, Shalini Yadav of the Samajwadi Party (SP), got 193,848. Ajay Rai of the Congress got 1,51,800 votes.

In 2014, Modi won from Varanasi by a margin of 33,7000 votes.

Varanasi has been celebrating the Prime Minister's victory since the morning with songs, dance and sweets.

According to sources, Modi will visit Varanasi next week to offer thanks and prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

Modi removes 'Chowkidar' from Twitter handle

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to unite the country on Thursday after a big election win, with his party on course to increase its majority on a mandate of business-friendly policies and a tough stand on national security.Official data from the Election Commission showed Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party ahead in 300 of the 542 seats being contested, up from the 282 it won in 2014 and more than the 272 seats needed for a majority in the lower house of parliament. That would give it the first back-to-back majority for a single party since 1984. "Together we will build a strong and inclusive India," Modi said on Twitter. "India wins yet again!" Modi's victory boosted financial markets as investors expect his government to continue to pursue economic reforms. He will be under pressure to provide work opportunities for the tens of millions of young people coming on to the job market in the next few years and to boost depressed farm incomes. "The immediate challenges are to address employment, the issue of agricultural income and revive the banking sector," said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at Care Ratings in Mumbai. 

Official data from the Election Commission showed Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party ahead in 300 of the 542 seats being contested, up from the 282 it won in 2014 and more than the 272 seats needed for a majority in the lower house of parliament.

That would give it the first back-to-back majority for a single party since 1984. "Together we will build a strong and inclusive India," Modi said on Twitter. "India wins yet again!" Modi's victory boosted financial markets as investors expect his government to continue to pursue economic reforms.

He will be under pressure to provide work opportunities for the tens of millions of young people coming on to the job market in the next few years and to boost depressed farm incomes. "The immediate challenges are to address employment, the issue of agricultural income and revive the banking sector," said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at Care Ratings in Mumbai.

NDA sweeps Bihar, Grand Alliance reduced to 2 seats

With the ruling NDA having established a comfortable lead in 38 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, the opposition Grand Alliance is struggling to maintain a lead on the remaining Jehanabad and Kushanganj seats.

After several rounds of counting of votes, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was heading for a big win in the state.

According to official sources, the NDA has won in over a dozen seats, including Darbhanga, Vaishali, Maharajganj, Sasaram, Gaya, Valmikinagar, Ujiyarpur, Begusarai, Patna Sahib and Jamui, but a formal declaration has not been made so far.

In the remaining seats, the NDA candidates were leading by a big margin.

Rahul Gandhi: I congratulate the PM and BJP

Rahul Gandhi, the president of India's opposition Congress party, said he had lost his own parliament seat in a family borough in a northern state in the biggest upset of the election on Thursday.

Gandhi said his opponent, cabinet minister Smriti Irani, had won the election in Amethi, which his family has held almost continuously for the last four decades.

Television channel CNN News18 said Gandhi, however, had won from a constituency in southern India, the second place he chose to run from in the election.

West Bengal: Trinamool leading on 25 seats, BJP 16, Congress 1

Calling Modi thief was wrong: Nitin Gadkari

BJP leader Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said calling Prime Minister Narendra a "thief" was wrong as the Prime Minister does not belong to a party but the country.

Speaking to the media as the BJP leads in the trends of the Lok Sabha results, he said the people have voted for the BJP as they have shown faith in Modi's leadership.

"The people of the nation know what is best for the country. In this election, people have shown faith that the Modi rule can change the nation. People have voted for the same. BJP's win is people's choice," the Union Minister said.

"The Prime Minister is not of any party, he is of the country; it was wrong to call him a thief," said Gadkari.

Yogi gets tumultuous welcome at BJP office in Lucknow

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath received a tumultuous welcome when he reached the BJP state headquarters here on Thursday evening.

With 'gulal' flying in the air and the beating of drums, Adityanath was swathed with garlands of all shapes and sizes.

Flanked by two Deputy Chief Ministers, Keshav Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, Adityanath thanked party workers for the victory and said that it was the collective efforts of all and the charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that ensured a huge win for the party in the general elections.

He asked party workers to start preparing for the 2022 Assembly elections and ensure a second term for the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh which he said would be a befitting reply to the rivals.

Enthusiastic party workers distributed 'laddos' and lotus shaped sweets at the party workers and danced with gay abandon to celebrate their victory.

Congress leads in sole Puducherry LS seat

The Congress on Thursday established a solid lead over rival AINRC candidate in the sole Puducherry Lok Sabha constituency.

The Congress candidate Ve. Vaithilingam had polled over 169,000 votes while his nearest rival, AINRC's Narayanasamy Kesavan, got over 89,400 votes, Election Commission officials said.

Union Cabinet meeting to be held tomorrow

​The Union Cabinet will meet Friday evening to recommend the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.

The meet will be held a day after the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha elections in which the NDA is all set to retain power.

After the Cabinet's recommendation is passed in the form of a resolution, President Ram Nath Kovind will dissolve the present Lok Sabha, the term of which is ending on June 3.

The 17th Lok Sabha has to be constituted before June 3 and the process to form a new House will be initiated when the three Election Commissioners meet the President in the next few days to hand over the list of newly-elected members.

After the meeting of the Union Cabinet, the Council of Ministers, which also comprises ministers of state, will meet at the South Block office of the prime minister, official sources said Thursday.​​​​​​

Farooq Abdullah wins Srinagar Lok Sabha seat

Even as the official announcement of results is still awaited, the National Conference (NC) on Thursday established unassailable lead in all three Lok Sabha seats in the Kashmir Valley while former Chief Minister and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti lost in her erstwhile bastion Anantnag.

Emerging as the victor in his typical grand style, the 83-year-old four-time former Chief Minister and NC President Abdullah was miles ahead with 51,000 votes over his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Aga Syed Mohsin.

NC's Muhammad Akbar Lone had established a firm lead of over 20,000 votes against his Peoples Conference (PC) rival Raja Aijaz Ali.

The surprise winner in the Valley was Justice (Retired) Hasnain Masoodi, who initially trailed behind both Mehbooba Mufti and Ghulam Ahmad Mir, the state President of the Congress.

Masoodi proved the proverbial dark horse when he raced ahead leaving both Mehbooba and Mir behind with a firm lead of 9,000 votes when less than that number of votes was still to be counted.

Mehbooba Mufti conceded defeat saying the people's anger against her was "completely justified".

BJP in Karnataka

BJP candidate, Y. Devendrappa has won from Bellary, Karnataka.

BJP in Karnataka has posted its first victory with its candidate from Haveri C S Udasi trouncing Congress' D R Patil by a margin of 1,40,882 votes, Election commission said on Thursday.

While Udasi, who was an MP in the last Lok Sabha, secured 6,83,660 votes, Patil got 5,42,778 votes.

In the 2014 Lok Sabaha polls, Udasi had won against Saleem Ahmed of Congress by a margin of 87,571 votes.

According to trends available with the Election Commission,BJP in Karnataka was racing ahead of the ruling Congress-JDScoalition by leading in 23 out of total 28 Lok Sabha seats inthe state.

Congress was ahead in two seats and JD(S) in one, with trends available so far, indicating that the alliance between the two parties may not have worked.

Independent candidate Sumalatha Ambareesh was leading against Chief Mininister H D Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil in Mandya.

India wins yet again, says Modi

"India wins yet again," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday as the BJP was heading for a thumping victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, which he attributed to the 'sabka vishwas' (trust of everyone).

Modi also said a strong and inclusive India will be built by its people. "Sabka sath + Sabka Vikas + Sabka Vishwas Vijai Bharat (taking everyone along, development for all, trust of all is equal to victorious India). Together we grow. Together we prosper. Together we will build a strong and inclusive India. India wins yet again! #VijayiBharat," he tweeted.

His remarks came after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday appeared set to retain power with a greater majority. According to the trends, the BJP was leading on over 301 seats out of 542 seats.

We accept public mandate with utmost humility: Gehlot

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday said that he accepts the public mandate with humility and thanked the people for maintaining peace in the state during the Lok Sabha elections as well as counting.

The Congress has always followed the norms of democracy accepting the people's verdict to ensure democracy is strengthened, he told the media here.

"All Congress workers under the leadership of party President Rahul Gandhi, worked hard to implement Congress policies. They need not get demoralized. We need to strengthen democracy and continue to work in this direction."

The Chief Minister said that for the Congress, the country was supreme, while for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), power was supreme.

NDA ahead on 42 seats in Maharashtra

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ally Shiv Sena are set for a big victory in Maharashtra as they lead in 42 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state, as per the Election Commission (EC) data till 1.30 p.m.

While the BJP was leading in 23 seats, its ally Shiv Sena was ahead on 19 seats.

The Congress and its ally the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were ahead on 4 seats, while the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and an Independent candidate were leading in 1 seat each.

BJP allies set to lose bargaining power as party touches 300-mark

Allies of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are set to lose their bargaining power with the saffron party heading towards a thumping majority on its own.

The latest counting trends show the BJP crossing the 300-mark in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, way beyond the 272 seats required to form the government.

The key BJP allies are the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, the Janata Dal-United and Lok Janshakti Party in Bihar, the Apna Dal in Uttar Pradesh and the Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab among others.

The Shiv Sena and JD-U are considered the most powerful among the allies. While the Sena is part of the state government in Maharashtra, the JD-U leads the Bihar government.

Less dependence on allies means the BJP can take any major political and economic decision and implement them. It may even go for construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya without consulting the allies.

All sections of Kerala society helped us to win: Chandy

One of the key campaigners for the Congress-led United Democratic Front, two-time former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday attributed the impressive performance of the UDF in the Lok Sabha election to all sections of people voting for the alliance.

With over 80 per cent of votes being counted, the UDF is seen as winning in 19 seats, with the ruling CPI-M set to win just the Alappuzha seat.

Speaking to the media at his residence here, as hundreds of UDF workers came to greet him for the expected win, Chandy said he wished to thank the people of Kerala who made it possible.

"We have been saying it would be 20-20 this time for us. Though we are trailing in Alappuzha, I still feel, we will surge ahead there also and make a clean sweep. This win happened because all sections of Kerala society voted for us," said Chandy.

"This is a verdict against the Kerala government. The presence of Rahul Gandhi at Wayanad also helped us in a big way," added Chandy.

Supriya Sule-Pawar wins Baramati, NCP leading in 3 more seats

Supriya Sule-Pawar of Nationalist Congress Party was declared elected from Baramati Lok Sabha seat on Thursday, in her third consecutive victory from the family stronghold.

She secured over 650,000 votes, while her Bharatiya Janata Party rival, Kanchan R. Kool, who scored over 493,000 votes.

This makes Supriya Sule-Pawar, the daughter of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, the first winner from the 48 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state, the second highest in the country after Uttar Pradesh, in the 2019 elections

Congress' Rahul meets Sonia, Priyanka

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi met Congress chief Rahul Gandhi at his residence here as the trends showed that the party was doing badly in the Lok Sabha polls.

Sonia Gandhi was at the 12 Tuglak Lane residence of her son for almost an hour.

Rahul Gandhi's sister and party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had visited him earlier in the day.

According to latest trends, Rahul Gandhi is trailing in Amethi from about 15,000 votes. The trends also showed that the party was leading in 50 seats, a bare improvement from its tally of 44 in 2014 elections.

It was the first election fought by the party with Rahul Gandhi as party President. 

In his campaign, he repeatedly said that the opposition will oust the Modi government.

Rahul Gandhi was elected Congress chief in December 2017 at the culmination of party's organisational elections.

Sonia Gandhi had helmed the Congress for almost 19 years of which the party led a government at the Centre with its allies for 10 years.

BJP loses Panaji assembly bypoll, wins three others

Goa's ruling BJP won three out of the four state Assembly bypolls on Thursday but failed to win the prestigious Panaji constituency, which had been held by late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate and Parrikar's long-time aide Sidharth Kuncalienkar lost to Congress' Atanasio Monserrate by 1,758 votes in Panaji. Monserrate polled 8,748 votes against Kuncalienkar's 6,990 votes. AAP's Valmiki Naik and Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) candidate Subhash Velingkar polled 236 and 516 votes, respectively.

However, BJP candidate Subhash Shirodkar won the bypoll for the Shiroda Assembly constituency defeating Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party's Deepak Dhavalikar by 66 votes.

In the Mapusa Assembly bypoll, BJP's Joshua D'Souza defeated his closest rival Sudhir Kandolkar of the Congress by 1,113 votes. While D'Souza polled 11,098 votes, Kandolkar got 9,985 votes. In the Mandrem Assemby bypoll, BJP's Dayanand Sopte won by 4306 votes defeating his nearest rival independent candidate Jit Arolkar.

Commenting after his victory, Monserrate said: "This is a victory of the Congress party and a vote for the development. Panaji has been deprived of development for the past so many years".

The bypoll for the Panaji Assembly constituency was necessitated following the death of Parrikar in March, after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer.

Parrikar first won the constituency in 1994 and retained it until 2014, when he was inducted into Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet. In his absence, the seat was represented twice by his aide Kuncalienkar. On his return to state politics in 2018, Parrikar was once again elected Panaji MLA.

The loss is significant for the BJP, which promised to carry forward Parrikar's legacy in Panaji.

Narendra Modi leads by over 3,31,000 votes in Varanasi

Rahul Gandhi trailing by over 15,000 votes against Smriti Irani in Amethi.

Union Minister Jayant Sinha set to win from Hazaribagh

Union Minister and BJP candidate Jayant Sinha is set to win the Hazaribagh Lok Sabha poll in Jharkhand.

Sinha has secured 2,94,555 votes and his rival Congress candidate Gopal Sahu has only got 98,736 votes. Sinha has been maintaining his lead since morning.

Another Union Minister Sudarsan Bhagat has been trailing since morning. Till now, 4,26,767 votes have been counted with Bhagat securing 1,86,782 votes and Congress candidate Sukhdeo Bhagat has got 1,92,207 votes.

The NDA is leading in 11 seats in Jharkhand.

BJP state chief Lakshman Giluwa is trailing by over 50,000 votes against Congress candidate Geeta Koda from Singhbhum.

BJP retains all four Himachal Lok Sabha seats

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Himachal Pradesh on Thursday retained all the four Lok Sabha seats in the state as its candidates won by a record huge margins, election officials said.

Hamirpur sitting MP Anurag Thakur, Kangra candidate Kishan Kapoor, Shimla candidate Suresh Kashyap and Mandi sitting MP Ram Swaroop Sharma won their seats by defeating their nearest Congress rivals.

The main contest was between the Congress and the BJP.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur thanked all the voters for the landslide victory of the party.

He told reporters here that the victory confirms that people have expressed faith and confidence in the programmes and policies of his government.

For former chief of the national cricket bodies Anurag Thakur this was the fourth consecutive victory. He won by over 3.81 lakh votes against Congress legislator Ram Lal Thakur.

From Kangra, the largest Lok Sabha constituency in the state in terms of voters, the BJP had fielded Cabinet Minister Kishan Kapoor, 68, after dropping veteran leader Shanta Kumar, against two-time Congress legislator Pawan Kajal, 44.

Kapoor defeated Kajal by a margin of more than 4.47 lakh votes.

In the Shimla (reserved) seat, it was an ex-serviceman versus an ex-serviceman.

Colonel Dhani Ram Shandil (retired), 78, who was the Congress candidate, lost by over 3.23 lakh votes to BJP nominee and former Indian Air Force (IAF) officer Suresh Kashyap, 48.

The congratulations pour in

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appeared headed to retain power for the second term, saying he looked forward to working with the Indian leader again.

Xi, who met Modi in a never-seen-before setting at Wuhan last year, said he attached great importance to Sino-India ties and take them to new heights.

"On the occasion of the National Democratic Alliance winning the 17th Lok Sabha elections on India under your (Modi) leadership, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations," Xi said in a letter to Modi.

The Chinese President is expected to meet Modi in India later this year in a two-day Wuhan-like format where they had several rounds of talks including informal chats.

In his congratulatory message sent even before the official election results, Xi noted that under the leadership of the two leaders, Sino-Indian ties "have shown strong momentum of development".

Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth on Thursday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to retain power at the Centre.

In a tweet, Rajinikanth said: "Respected dear @narendramodi ji hearty congratulations... You made it !!! God bless."

Rajinikanth had said his party would contest the next Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.


Amit Shah leads by nearly 500,000 votes

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national President Amit Shah surpassed the victory margin of senior party leader L.K. Advani as counting entered 22nd round, even as his party was all set to bag all the 26 seats in Gujarat, repeating its 2014 performance.

With every vote count almost going into his kitty, Amit Shah had posted a huge margin of more than 5.10 lakh votes over Congress' C.J. Chavda. With this, Shah has left BJP patriarch Advani's 2014 lead of 4.83 lakh votes from the Gandhinagar constituency far behind. Three more rounds of counting remained.

Four ruling party candidates were ahead of their Congress rivals by over three lakh votes. Mohanbhai Kundariya of the BJP had polled 6,93,398 votes while his Congress rival Lalitbhai Kagathra was trailing in Rajkot constituency with 3,56,130 votes. Rajkot is Chief Minister Vijay Rupani's home town.

In a series of tweets in Hindi, he thanked the country saying "Phir ek baar Modi Sarkar" (once again, Modi government).

"This is a victory of the entire nation. A victory of hopes of the youth, poor and farmers. This grand victory is a triumph of people's confidence in Prime Minister Modi's five-year of development and strong leadership.

"I convey my heartfelt greetings to Modiji on behalf of BJP workers."

He also congratulated the people of the nation and the party workers. "This result is India's mandate against opposition's propaganda, lies, personal insinuations and baseless politics.

"Today's mandate also shows that the people of India opted for development and nationalism and have completely uprooted casteism, dynastic politics and appeasement from the country," he said.

Clashes between BJP, CPI supporters in Begusarai

Supporters of Union Minister and BJP leader Giriraj Singh clashed with rival supporters of former JNU student leader and Communist Party of India candidate Kanhaiya Kumar in Begusarai on Thursday, police said.

Upbeat and happy over Singh leading by more than 200,000 votes, his supporters burst fire crackers near the CPI office in Begusarai that was objected to by CPI workers that resulted in a clash between them.

According to district police officials, the rival groups pelted stones and attacked each other.

Taking the development seriously, the district administration has deployed additional security forces.

However, tensions are running high in Begusarai as BJP supporters took to the streets to celebrate the likely victory of the party and defeat of former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union chief Kumar.

EVM means 'Everyone Voted Modi', cheers Twitterati

As the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) surged to power, a section of Twitteratti on Thursday created a new acronym for the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) -- "Everyone Voted Modi" -- and made it go viral.

"EVM Everyone Voted Modi for Central and for YS Jagan in Andhra Pradesh," tweeted one user.

Another user tweeted: "Yes Narendra Modi Won Because Of EVM (Everyone Voted Modi)."

The Election Commission had earlier dismissed claims by Opposition parties that EVMs were being moved around in the days ahead of the counting of votes.

It also rejected allegations of discrepancies at the strong rooms where the EVMs have been kept prior to the election results.

A delegation of 22 opposition parties met the Election Commission earlier this week, demanding that VVPAT (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail) slips should be counted before the commencement of counting of votes polled in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

They had also demanded matching of all VVPAT slips with the EVMs in an Assembly segment in case of a discrepancy in random matching.

Modi tweets: India wins yet again

India's ruling Hindu nationalist party claimed victory Thursday in the country's elections after vote counting showed it heading for a majority in parliament.

PM Narendra Modi tweeted a victory message. Writing in Hindi, he wrote his slogan from the 2014 elections "Sabka saath, sabka vikas" (roughly translated to progress for everyone) adding "+everyone's trust=A victorious India". He then wrote: Together we grow. Together we prosper. Together we will build a strong and inclusive India. India wins yet again! #VijayiBharat"

UDF leading in Kerala

The Opposition Congress led-UDF in Kerala appears to be heading for a landslide in the state by continuing its lead in 19 of the total 20 Lok Sabha seats with AICC President Rahul Gandhi so far garnering over 200,000 votes from Wayanad.

Gandhi, who contested from Wayanad, besides his traditional stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, garnered 2,58,975 votes till 1.30pm, as per the Election Commission's website.

Early trends

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi looked on course Thursday for a major victory in the world's largest election, with early trends suggesting an even bigger win for his Hindu nationalist party than in 2014.

After four hours of counting the 600 million votes cast, Election Commission data showed Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) clearly in the lead in 292 seats out of 542 with main rivals Congress on just 49.

This would push the BJP over the 272 seats needed for a majority, defying some predictions and surpassing 2014 when Modi swept to power with 282 seats, the first parliamentary majority for a single party in 30 years in the country of 1.3 billion people.

And the congratulations have begun to pour in. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday congratulated Modi.

"Congratulations to @narendramodi on a magnificent victory! We look forward to working closely with you," Wickremesinghe tweeted.

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant tweeted:"People have voted for a new India. Heartiest congratulations to PM Shri @Narendramodi ji & BJP president @AmitShah for the spectacular win. Our nation will scale greater heights under your decisive leadership. #VijayBharat."

The BJP and the Congress are leading in the North Goa and South Goa Lok Sabha seats, respectively.

Union Minister of State for AYUSH and sitting BJP MP from North Goa Shripad Naik is leading his nearest rival state Congress president Girish Chodankar by 28,804 votes, at the end of the fourth round of polling, officials said.

In the South Goa Lok Sabha seat former Chief Minister and Congress candidate Francisco Sardinha is leading his nearest rival Narendra Sawaikar of the BJP by a mere 2,000 odd votes.

Around 67 per cent of the nearly 900 million voters in India exercised their franchise in the seven-phase elections that began on April 11 and ended on May 19.

The result would give the BJP and its allies, on course for close to 50 seats, a commanding 340 seats in the lower house. They will still lack a majority in the upper house, however, putting a brake on Modi's legislative agenda.

As small BJP celebrations began in some places, Indian stocks rose, with the main stock indices, the Sensex and the Nifty gaining more than two percent to break the 40,000 and 12,000 point marks respectively for the first time.

"Time for transformation of India. Time for deep reform. I dream of us as a global superpower in my lifetime," tweeted India's richest banker, Uday Kotak, as he congratulated Modi.

Rahul Gandhi of the Congress party, the great-grandson, grandson and son of three past premiers, had on Wednesday dismissed exit polls pointing to a Modi win.

"Don't get disappointed by the propaganda of fake exit polls," Gandhi, 48, told the party faithful on Twitter.

Early trends also suggested that Gandhi was in a tight race against against a former Bollywood actress running for the BJP in his constituency, which has been held by his family for generations. A second seat he was contesting in Kerala looked safer.

Modi, by contrast, looked set to romp home in Varanasi - one of India's holiest cities, where Hindus are cremated on the banks of the Ganges - with almost two-thirds of the votes.

Fake news 

The vast size of India - stretching from the Himalayas to the tropics, taking in polluted megacities, deserts and jungles - made the election a marathon six-week endeavour.

The campaign, thought to have cost more than $7 billion, was awash with insults - Modi was likened to Hitler and a "gutter insect" - as well as fake news in Facebook and WhatsApp's biggest markets.

Gandhi, 48, tried several lines of attack against Modi, in particular over alleged corruption in a French defence deal and over the desperate plight of farmers and the lacklustre economy.

Unemployment is reported to be at a four-decade high with Asia's third-biggest economy growing too slowly to create jobs for the million Indians entering the labour market every month.

Modi, a former cadre in the militaristic hardline Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and chief minister of Gujurat in 2002 when riots killed more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, is also seen as divisive.

Lynchings of Muslims and low-caste Dalits for eating beef and slaughtering and trading in cattle have risen, adding to anxiety among India's 170-million-strong Muslim population.

Under Modi several cities with names rooted in India's Islamic Mughal past have been re-named, while some school textbooks have been changed to downplay Muslims' contributions to India.

"If Modi again comes to power we are doomed," Hassan Khalid Azmi, a retired chemistry professor and Muslim in the northern city of Azamgarh, told AFP earlier this month.

The watchman 

But Modi, 68, managed deftly to turn the election into a referendum on his rule while depicting himself, often in the third person, as the only one able to defend India.

In this he was given a major boost when a suicide bombing, claimed by a Pakistan-based militant group, killed 40 Indian paratroopers in Indian-administered Kashmir on February 14.

Doubts abound about the efficacy of India's subsequent air strikes on Pakistan, but the action enabled Modi to style himself the "chowkidar" ("watchman").

"Wherever the terror groups and perpetrators may hide, our security forces will flush them out and punish them," he thundered. "Every drop of blood of our slain soldiers shall be avenged."