As counting is under way in the 542 seats that went to polls in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it looks like Prime Minister Narendra Modi (profile) and the BJP is set to return to power for the next five years. The Election Commission numbers show that the BJP by itself is leading in over 280 seats. The Congress is leading in 51 seats. It looks like Rahul Gandhi (profile) is set to lose Congress bastion Amethi to BJP’s Smriti Irani. He is, however leading in Kerala’s Wayanad.
As the day progresses, we will find out the future of several big names like Sonia Gandhi, Smriti Irani, Shashi Tharoor (profile) and Akhilesh Yadav. We will also find out whether the film stars who were roped in by both the BJP and the Congress such as Urmila Matondkar (profile), Sunny Deol (profile), Ravi Kishan and others were able to woo voters.
As counting begins we will bring you updates through the day.
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Here are the live updates:
8:23 pm: Political Parties Wearing Mask Of Securlarsim Couldn’t Fool People: PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said that people who spoke about secularism have now stopped speaking. He also said now there were only two castes in India now ― the poor and those who want to help uplift the poor.
7:55 pm: PM Modi Says 2019 Lok Sabha Poll Numbers Have Created Democratic History
Modi says, “I want to bow down to the 130 crore people of India.” He says that the 2019 Lok Sabha election numbers have created democratic history.
He said that the entire world recognise India’s democratic power.
He says, “If someone has won it is India, if someone has won it is democracy and the citizen of India.”
7:53 pm: Modi Addresses Workers At BJP HQ.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now speaking at the BJP HQ. He thanks Amit Shah and workers of the BJP to loud chants of ‘Modi, Modi’
7:40 pm Amit Shah Takes Digs At Congress
Amit Shah in a veiled dig at the Congress says this mandate is to bury divisive politics and dynastic politics.
7:39 pm: Amit Shah Says ‘Historic Victory’
7:34 pm: Win For Modi’s Popularity, Says Amit Shah
BJP President Amit Shah says in BJP headquarter that for the first time after Independence that a government has been voted to power with such a resounding mandate.
“This is a win for Narendra Modi’s popularity,” Amit Shah says.
7:29 pm: PM Modi In BJP Headquarters, Will Address BJP Workers Soon
6:59 pm: If People Were Hurt By My Words, I Would Like To Apologise, Says Pragya Thakur
6:25 pm: Results Of Elections Unexpected, Says HD Kumaraswamy
6:21 pm: Modi Removes ‘Chowkidar’ From Twitter Handle
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday removed ‘chowkidar’ from his Twitter handle and said now he would take the ‘chowkidar spirit to the next level’.
6:20 pm: Smriti Irani Says ‘Kaun Kehta Hai Asman Mein Suraakh Nahi Ho Sakta’
6:10 pm: Priyanka Gandhi Says ‘Accept People’s Verdict’
5:50 pm: Rahul Gandhi Conceded Defeat In Amethi
After losing Congress bastiona Amethi, Gandhi told Smriti Irani, “I hope she takes care of Amethi with love.”
5:47 pm: I Would Like To Congratulate Modi, Says Rahul Gandhi
Congress President Rahul Gandhi says that it was a battle of ideologies in the 2019 Lok Sabha Election. “I would like to congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his win.
When asked about the Congress route, he said, “I would like to respect the decision of people and would only like to congratulate the PM.”
He also told Congress workers “There is nothing to we scared of. There are many in the country who love the Congress.′
5:41 pm Pragya Thakur Set To Win In Bhopal
5:31 pm: Pakistan PM Imran Khan Congratulates Modi
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday congratulated Narendra Modi on his win and said he looked forward to working with him on peace.
5:14 pm: BJP Has Won 12 Seats, Leading In 290
The BJP has now won 12 seats and is leading in 290. The Congress has won 1 seat and is leading in 49.
5:05 pm: Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina Congratulates Modi
5:01 pm: Sunny Deol Meets Supporters In Gurdaspur
Actor-turned-politician Sunny Deol met supporters in Punjab’s Gurdaspur. This is the first time that Deol contested elections.
4:53 pm: Council Of Ministers Meeting Tomorrow.
4:24 pm: Must Accept Result In Gulbarga, Says Mallikarjun Kharge
As he was trailing by over a lakh votes, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said he accepted the verdict of the people.
He told ANI, “We accept the result in Gulbarga, the verdict that people gave us, we are accepting it. We believe in democracy. We will discuss how to correct our mistakes and how to strengthen the party.”
4:10 pm: Congress And Rahul Gandhi Set To Lose Amethi
While the 2019 Lok Sabha polls have been yet another huge set back for the Congress, perhaps a bigger set back is Rahul Gandhi losing in Amethi.
As of 4:10 pm, he was trailing by over 18,000 votes.
4:02 pm: Advani Congratulates Modi, Amit Shah; Hopes For ‘Bright Future’
BJP veteran LK Advani on Thursday, according to ANI, said, “Heartiest congratulations to Narendrabhai Modi for steering BJP towards this unprecedented victory in elections. Amitbhai Shah as BJP President & all dedicated workers of the party have put in enormous effort in making sure that BJP’s message reaches every voter.”
He also congratulated party workers and hoped for a bright future for India.
3:50 pm: Amit Shah Arrives In BJP Headquarters
3:30 pm: King, PM Of Bhutan Congratulates Modi
3:29 pm: Thank You India, Tweets Amit Shah
Meanwhile BJP president Amit Shah, who is set to become an MP himself, thanked India for the massive BJP win.
3:21 pm: Shashi Tharoor Says Victory In Thiruvananthapuram ‘Bittersweet’
Shashi Tharoor is leading in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram by 50,000 votes as BJP’s Kummanam Rajasekharan trails.
However, the Congress has performed poorly in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, and hence Tharoor said he felt like a batsman who scored a century but his team lost.
3:09 pm: Prakash Raj Said Loss In Bangalore Central A ‘Slap’ On His Face
As actor Prakash Raj is set to lose in Bangalore Central, he said on Twitter, this loss was a “slap on my face”. He however said he would continue to fight for a secular India.
3:00 pm: Putin Sends A Congratulatory Telegram
2:52 pm: India Wins Yet Again, Says PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is all set to come back for a second term, took to Twitter and said, “Together we grow. Together we prosper. Together we will build a strong and inclusive India. India wins yet again!”
2:50 pm Shinzo Abe Wishes Modi On Predicted Win
2:45 pm: Xi Jinping Congratulates Modi
2:43 pm: Rajinikanth Sends ‘Hearty Congratulations’ To Modi
2:37 pm: President Of Maldives Congratulates Modi
2:32 pm: Why Kanhaiya Kumar Was Washed Out By BJP In Begusarai
Pavan Dahat writes: The odds were stacked against Kumar right from the beginning. BJP won from Begusarai in 2014, Kumar did not have the muscle power and money that the national parties have and CPI anyway doesn’t have a significant presence in the state. However, Kumar’s popularity with both Hindi and English speaking youth and his proximity to the constituency were factors that were assumed would work in his favour. Clearly, it did not.
Read more here.
2:22 pm: BJP Is Now Leading In 301 Seats
2:21 pm: Counting Achha Nahi Ja Raha Hai, Says TMC’s Moon Moon Sen
1:55 pm: It’s A Clean BJP Sweep In Delhi
1:51 pm: We Respect Mandate Of India, Congratulate BJP, Says AAP
The AAP congratulated the BJP for its massive win in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. Spokesperson Saurabh Bharwaj was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying, “In democracy, mandate of the people is considered to be very powerful. We respect the mandate of India and congratulate the BJP for its victory. We offer Prime Minister Narendra Modi best wishes for his future tenure. We hope he would do good work in his future tenure.”
1:40 pm: Maldives Foreign Minister Congratulates PM Modi
1:35 pm: Benjamin Netanyahu Congratulates Modi
1:28 pm: Mamata Congratulates Winners, But Says ‘All Losers Are Not Losers’
1:20 pm: Shashi Tharoor Leading In Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram
1:15 pm: It’s Likely That Giriraj Singh Will Win Begusarai
1:11 pm: Smriti Irani Still Leading In Amethi
Like in 2014, it’s a tough fight in Amethi with Smriti Irani is leading In Amethi by 2688 votes as of 1:11 pm.
Amethi is a Congress bastion.
Read more here:
1:05 pm: People Of India Love Modi, Says BJP’s Himanta Biswa Sarma
Assam BJP leader Himants Biswa Sarma said on Thursday that “Modi ji” will take India forward. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will come back for a second term because “they love him”.
12:50 pm: Sri Lankan PM, President Congratulate Modi
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a second term in office.
12:42 pm: Omar Abdullah Congratulates Modi, Amit Shah
Omar Abdullah, former J&K chief minister who has been a bitter critic of the BJP government at the Centre, took to Twitter to congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah. He said, “Credit where credit is due PM Modi Sahib & Mr Amit Shah put together a winning alliance & a very professional campaign. Bring on the next five years.”
12:40 pm: Celebrations Begin In BJP Office In Kolkata
If the leads are anything to go by, the BJP has made massive gains in West Bengal. While the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC had claimed BJP won’t be able to win in Bengal, the saffron-party is leading in 18 seats in Bengal. Celebrations have already begun in Bengal.
12:07 pm: Sushil Kumar Shinder Trailing From Solapur
12:05 pm: BJP Supporters Celebrate In Sydney, Australia
11:54 am: Urmila Matondkar Trails From Mumbai North, Claims Foul Play
11:50 am: BJP Gains In Mamata’s West Bengal
The BJP is leading in almost as many seats as the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal.
The BJP is leading in 18 seats and TMC in 23 seats.
11:40 am Sambit Patra Leading Puri
BJP’s Sambit Patra is leading in Puri by 300 votes. He contested against BJD’s Pinaki Misra and Congress candidate Satya Prakash Nayak.
11:25 am: Giriraj Singh Set To Win Bihar’s Begusarai
It’s a saffron sweep across India. And Bihar’s Begusarai is not different. Here BJP’s Giriraj Singh is leading by over one lakh votes.
CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar is trailing. These were his first elections.
11:22 am Security Stepped Up Outside BJP Headquarters In Delhi
11:00 am: Smriti Irani Leads In Amethi, Huge Loss For Congress
It looks like a big loss for the Congress in its bastion Amethi, where Smriti Irani is leading by 3,000 votes.
The Congress has never won this seat, except for in 1998.
10:47 am: BJP Leads In 290 Seats, PM Modi Set To Return
It is becoming more and more certain that Narendra Modi is going return for a second-term as prime minister. The BJP, according the Election Commission website, is leading in 290 seats, which is well past the half-way mark.
The Congress is leading in 51 seats. If it does win these seats, it will have gained 7 seats more from 2014.
10:33 am: ‘Giant Killer’ Moon Moon Trails In West Bengal’s Asansol
TMC’s “giant killer” Moon Moon Sen isn’t doing that well in West Bengal’s Asansol where she took on BJP’s Babul Supriyo.
In 2014, she defeated CPI(M)’s Basudeb Acharia from the Bankura Lok Sabha constituency, considered to be a Left stronghold. However, looks like she isn’t going to repeat her magic in Asansol.
10:30 am: Celebrations In BJP Office Inn Bengaluru
10:27 am: Rahul Gandhi Is Now Trailing In Amethi
It’s a neck and neck battle between Smriti Irani and Rahul Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi.
Gandhi right now has 6,987 and Irani has 7,072 votes.
10:15 am: Amit Shah Leading By A Lakh Votes In Gandhinagar
As counting continues, Amit Shah seems to be closer to winning in Gandhinagar in Gujarat. This is the first time that Shah contested Lok Sabha elections. Shah has 152186 votes so far.
10:10 am: Here’s Why Sunny Leone Is Trending On Twitter On Polling Day
It’s a high-on-adrenaline kind of day. On the morning of counting day as actor Sunny Deol was leading in Gurdaspur, Republic TV editor in chief Arnab Goswami called him Sunny Leone.
And of course, Twitter users jumped in to make fun of him and made Sunny Leone trend.
10:05 am: EC Numbers Show TMC Leading In 20 West Bengal Seats
While ground reports said BJP was leading in West Bengal, Election Commission numbers showed the Trinamool Congress leading in 20 seats and the BJP leading in 11 seats.
10:00 am: Rahul Gandhi Leading In Amethi
Congress President Rahul Gandhi is leading in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi. He is contesting against BJP bigwig Smriti Irani.
As of 10:00 am Gandhi has 4,723 and Irani has 2,944.
However, ground reports suggest that he is in for a tough fight and trailing.
9:57 am: Hema Malini Is Leading In Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura
Actor-turned-politician Hema Malini is leading in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura Lok Sabha seat.
The is the BJP candidate and an incumbent MP.
9:56 am: Sunny Deol Leading In Gurdaspur
9:55 am: BJP Now Leading In 256 Seats
The BJP is now leading in 256 of the 542 seats in the Lok Sabha. The Congress is leading in 56 seats.
9:50 am: Neck And Neck Battle In Nagpur Between Nana Patole And Nitin Gadkari
BJP’s Nitin Gadkari and Congress Candidate Nana Patole in a neck and neck battle in Nagpur.
Read more here.
9:45 am: Maneka Gandhi Is Trailing Inn UP’s Sultanpur
9:40 am: Narendra Modi Leading In Varanasi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is looking to win by a record margin in Varanasi, is leading from the constituency. He has 22105 votes so far. SP’s Shalini Yadav is in the second lead.
9:35 am: Mehbooba Mufti Trailing In Anantnag
9:30 am: Shashi Tharoor Leading In Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor is leading in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram with 21129 votes. BJP’s Kummanam Rajasekharan is not far behind with19352 votes.
Read more here:
9:20 am: Kanhaiya Kumar Trailing From Begusarai
BJP’s Giriraj Singh is leading in Bihar’s Begusarai and Kanhaiya Kumar is trailing.
Singh at the moment has 8913 votes, and Kumar is close behind with 7297 votes.
9:15 am: Tejasvi Surya Is Leading In Bangalore South
The Election Commission website shows that Tejasvi Surya, BJP’s youngest candidate, is leading from the Bangalore South seat in Karnataka.
He contested against Congress candidate BK Hariprasad.
9:08 am: BJP Leading In 101 Seats, Congress In 40 Seats
Trends at 9:05 am on the Election Commission showed that the BJP was leading in 101 seats and the Congress in 40 seats.
The JD(U) is leading in 2 seats, JD(S) in 2 Seats, AAP in 2 seats. KCR’s Telangana Rashtra Samiti is leading in 9 seats.
9:02 am: In West Bengal, The TMC Is Leading In 2 Seats
According to the Election Commission, Mamata Banerjee’s TMC is leading in two seats in West Bengal.
8:57 am: Rahul Gandhi Is Leading In Wayanad
Read more here on Rahul Gandhi’s candidature from Kerala.
8:52 am: Pragya Thakur Leading In Bhopal
BJP’s conntroversial candidate Pragya Thakur is leading in the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency. She has 6182 votes so far. Digvijaya Singh of the Congress has 3077 votes.
8:50 am: Sonia Gandhi Leading In Rae Bareli
The Election Commission shows that Sonia Gandhi is leading in Rae Bareli. She has received 5368 votes so far. BJP’s Dinesh Pratap Singh is not far behind with 2490 votes
Read more here.
8:47 am: Now BJP Is Leading In 21 Seats, Congress In 10
8:40 am: BJP Leading In 9 Seats, Congress In 3
The Election Commission website is back up and early leaders are in. Thhe BJP is leading in 9 seats, the Congress in 3, JD(S) in 1 seat, NCP in 1 and Shiv Sena in 1.
8:32 am: Election Commission Website Crashes As Counting Begins
The official website of the Election Commission crashed within half an hour after the beginning of counting of votes.
However, they said that the EC Twitter handle will tweet out live updates today.
8:27 am: BJP’s Gorakhpur Candidate Ravi Kishan Offered Prayers This Morning
8:21 am: Home Ministry Alerted States About Possibility Of Violence
The Home Ministry had on Wednesday alerted all state chief secretaries and directors general of police about possibility violence in different parts of the country during the counting of votes.
“This is in the wake of calls given and statements made in various quarters for inciting violence and causing disruption on the day of counting of votes,” a Home Ministry statement said.
It also asked states and Union Territories to take adequate measures for the security of strong rooms and venues of counting of votes.
8:11 am: Counting To Take Place Across 4,000 Centres
PTI reports that counting will take place in over over 4,000 counting centres. This is amid concerns raised by 22 Opposition parties over alleged tampering of EVMs. They have asked the Election Commission to ensure transparency in counting.
8:00 am Counting Of Votes Begins, 16.49 lakh Postal Ballots To Be Counted First
Counting of votes has begun for all the 542 seats that went to polls in the seven-phased 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Postal ballots will be counted first. There are 18 lakh voters who are eligible to vote through postal ballots, of whom 16.49 lakh sent in their postal ballots to their respective returning officers as on 17 May. A polling officer told PTI that just the counting of postal votes could take a couple of hours.
Service voters can cast their votes through postal ballots and this includes members of the armed forces, central police force personnel and state police personnel who are posted outside their constituencies. Diplomats and support staff posted in Indian embassies abroad are also counted as service voters.
7:55 am: Congress MLA Roshan Baig tried to help BJP, sabotage my campaign, says Congress candidate Rizwan Arshad
Roshan Baig, a senior Congress MLA in Karnataka who has been minister in the previous Siddaramaiah government, had hit out at several Congress leaders in the state after the exit polls.
7:52 am: Visuals from counting centre in Dehradun
7:48 am: Congress appears to concede in Odisha assembly elections
On Wednesday, Odisha Congress president Niranjan Patnaik conceded that the party will not be able to form a government on its own in the state, and may even lose the opposition status, PTI reported
Patnaik’s statement indicated that its straight fight between the BJD and the BJP in Odisha, a state where Congress had its government for several times in the past and where it is principal opposition to the Naveen Patnaik headed party for previous 19 years.
In 2014, Congress had bagged only 16 out of the total 147 seats in Odisha Assembly and had failed to open its account in the Lok Sabha polls.
7:43 am: US confident of fairness, integrity of India elections
The United States said on Wednesday that it was confident in the fairness and integrity of the Indian elections.
“I would say from the US perspective, we are very confident in the fairness and the integrity of the Indian elections, and we will obviously work with whoever is the victor and whatever the outcome is there,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus told reporters, PTI reported.
7:38 am: Congress will form govt, Rahul will be PM, says party leader Ajay Maken
7:26 am: BJP’s Kummanam Rajasekharan confident of winning Thiruvananthapuram
Rajasekharan is in close contest with Congress’s Shashi Tharoor, a two-time MP. The BJP candidate’s win would be the saffron party’s first ever Lok Sabha seat win in Kerala.
7:20 am: BJP’s Youngest Candidate Tejasvi Surya Says He Is Confident Of Win
BJP’s candidate from Bangalore South, Tejasvi Surya, said on Thursday that he was confident of winning the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. Surya is the general secretary of the BJP youth wing in Karnataka and part of BJP’s national social media campaign team for 2019. He contested against Congress’ BK Hariprasad.
Read more about him here.
7:18 am: Visuals From Some Counting Centres Across India
7:10 am Will Results Be Delayed Because Of VVPAT?
The Election Commission had said on Wednesday that the results could be delayed because of the VVPAT-EVM matching. It is for the first time that results of voting machines will be matched with slips generated by paper trail machines.
However, NDTV said that results may not be delayed because VVPAT will be counted last.
7:00 am Counting For The 2019 Lok Sabha Elections To Begin At 8 am
The counting for the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections will begin at 8 am as over 8,000 candidates in 542 seats wait eagerly for the results.
These elections saw a high-on-vitriol and divisive campaigning. Unlike the 2014 elections where Modi had promised jobs, development and ‘sab ka saath, sab ka vikaas’, this year he led a campaign in line with BJP’s Hindutva identity. Ram Mandir, National Register of Citizens and other blatant communal tropes were used by BJP’s leaders while canvassing for votes. (Remember Union minister Maneka Gandhi’s threats to Muslim voters?)
Meanwhile, the Congress campaign, despite the inclusion of star candidate Priyanka Gandhi, fell short in comparison to that of the BJP’s.
Polling was marred by several incidents of violence, especially in West Bengal — India’s third largest state in terms of Lok Sabha seats — where the BJP is looking to make inroads. Reports of missing voters, glitchy EVMs and VVPATs, booth capturing and rigging have raised questions about the fairness of polling.
While for the first time, the results from EVMs will be matched with slips generated by paper trail machines, the Election Commission on Wednesday rejected the demand of 22 opposition parties for verification of VVPAT slips before the counting of votes.
VVPAT matching will take place in five polling stations per assembly segment. This effectively means that out of nearly 10.3 lakh polling stations, the EVM-VVPAT matching will take place in 20,600 stations.
The paper trail machines slips will be counted in the end. First, the slips will be counted and the EVM displays would be switched on later to match the results. In case of a mismatch, the results based in paper slip count will be considered as final. EVM-paper trail machine matching will take an additional 4-5 hours, reports said.
Out of the 543 Lok Sabha seats, elections were held in 542 constituencies as the EC had cancelled polls for the Vellore constituency on the grounds of excessive use of money power.
Exit polls, released after the seventh phase of polling concluded, projected numbers favourable to the BJP. Multiple exit polls, carried out by different news channels, predicted that the NDA will cross the half-way mark comfortably, and even cross 300 seats. If exit polls are anything to go by, it will be an easy win for Modi.
In 2014 the BJP had won 282 and the Congress had been decimated to only 44 seats.
However, experts have said that the numbers projected by the exit polls could be exaggerated and could be entirely wrong.