Just after 11 am, as trends have stabilised, the BJP is leading in as many as 292 seats, ten more than it won in 2014. The BJP-led NDA is almost certain to cross 300 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha.
Narendra Modi will become the first non-Congress Prime Minister to return to power after a full five-year term. In 2014, Narendra Modi’s BJP became the first party since Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress in 1984 to win a full majority on its own; in 2019, it looks set to become the first party since Indira Gandhi’s Congress to return with a majority of its own.
This remarkable feat has been powered by a surge in the BJP’s voteshare almost everywhere across the country — a staggering achievement given the party had already set an almost impossibly high bar for itself in 2014.
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Among the major states where it has a presence, the BJP has got more votes than in 2014 in Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal.
In large parts of the country, the BJP’s opponents can no longer claim the BJP does not have the support of the majority — in a dozen big states, the party has received more than 50% of the vote.
Among them, at 11 am by the Election Commission of India web site: Himachal Pradesh (69%), Arunachal (63%), Gujarat (62%), Uttarakhand (61%), Rajasthan (59%), Madhya Pradesh (58%), Delhi (57%), Haryana (57%), Karnataka (52%), Uttar Pradesh (50%), and Chhattisgarh (50%).
The two big takeaways from the voteshare: an improvement in Uttar Pradesh from the 41% it got in 2014, and a doubling in West Bengal to 39% from the 18% it got in 2014. It will ensure that the party holds on to the bulk of its seats in UP, and make huge gains in Bengal.
At 11.30 am, the BJP was leading in 17 out of the 42 seats in West Bengal, up from the 2 it won in 2014. The Trinamool Congress was leading in 24, and the Congress in 1. The Left appears to have been wiped out altogether.
In Odisha, the other sunrise state for the BJP, the party’s gains appear to be relatively modest: a lead in 7 seats, with a 37% voteshare.
What of Rahul Gandhi’s Congress?
The party is leading in only one seat in Madhya Pradesh and drawing a zero in Rajasthan, where the party won Assembly elections just four months ago. In Chhattisgarh, the Congress is leading only in Bastar and Mahasamund. The party had swept the polls in this state in November-December.
The only good news for the Congress is in Punjab and Kerala. In Kerala, the Congress-led UDF appears to be sweeping the poll, leading in 19 out of 20 seats. This appears to be in line with party leaders’ assessment that the party could do well due to the presence of Rahul Gandhi as a candidate in Wayanad.
However, Rahul Gandhi himself is trailing in Amethi. His confidants Jyotiraditya Scindia (Guna), Deepender Hooda (Rohtak), Gaurav Gogoi (Kaliaburg) and Sushmita Dev (Silchar) are all trailing.
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Congress veterans Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Congress in the outgoing Lok Sabha, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupender Hooda, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh and former Union Minister M Veerappa Moily too are trailing in their respective constituencies.
The Left is shrinking further, with its tally going down to perhaps five at the national level. In Kerala, where the CPI-M-led LDF is in power, all its candidates except in Kasargode are trailing.
Although the BJP had succeeded in making considerable impact in its campaign against the Left over the issue of women’s entry into Sabarimala shrine, the party could not cash in on it. However, the issue appeared to have affected the CPI-M’s prospects adversely.
The most disappointing for the anti-BJP camp has so far been the performance of the gathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh where the SP-BSP-RLD alliance was expected to give a tight fight to the BJP which won 71 of the 80 seats in 2014. At 11.30 am, the BJP was leading in 56 seats, and the gathbandhan in only 21.
The NDA is sweeping Bihar as well, winning 38 out of the state’s 40 seats. This is a crushing blow from Lalu Prasad’s RJD, and its young leader Tejashwi Yadav.
However, the regional parties in the southern states appeared to have contained the BJP’s race and disappointed the party leadership in its ambition to grow as a formidable force in those states except in Karnataka. DMK, which is in alliance with the Congress in Tamil Nadu is sweeping the poll, according to the trends, the YSRCP is sweeping in Andhra Pradesh and TRS is continuing its dominance in Telangana.