Apart from the 303 seats the BJP won on Thursday, the party was in serious contention in another 72 constituencies where it was the runner-up, Election Commission of India data show.
The BJP was behind the winner in the 72 constituencies by 1.27 lakh votes on an average, which is considerably lower than the national average margin of 2 lakh votes per constituency.
The party won 4.35 lakh votes in the constituencies where it was the runner-up, suggesting that it has created a strong base for the coming years, especially in states like West Bengal where the party has made major inroads.
The BJP had contested 436 seats in this Lok Sabha election. In the 303 seats where its candidates won, the average number of votes was 6.35 lakh.
In Odisha and West Bengal, two states where the BJP made significant gains compared to 2014, winning eight and 18 seats respectively, the BJP was also the main opposition party to the regional leaders.
In West Bengal, where TMC won 22 seats, BJP was the runner-up in all these seats. In Odisha, the BJD won 12 seats, and the BJP was the main challenger in all of them.
In Uttar Pradesh, too, where the party contested 78 of the 80 seats, giving two to its ally, it won 62. In the remaining 16 constituencies, BJP was at number 2. While the coming together of the two regional powerhouses, BSP and SP, was expected to halt BJP’s march, the data show that in 40 of the seats it got more than half the total votes polled, effectively leaving the caste arithmetic of the SP and BSP rudderless.
Also, in every three of the four seats won by the BJP across the country, its vote share was more than 50 per cent. This means the party had more votes than all the opposition and NOTA votes combined in 224 seats.
Beyond UP, the BJP won more than half the total votes polled in all 26 seats of Gujarat, all seven seats in Delhi, all five seats in Uttarakhand, all four seats of Himachal Pradesh and both the seats of Arunachal Pradesh. Further, the party won more than 50 per cent of the votes in 9 of the 10 seats of Haryana, 23 of the 25 seats in Rajasthan. 25 of 29 seats in Madhya Pradesh, 22 of 28 seats of Karnataka and 8 of 14 Jharkhand seats.
Even as the BJP was the winner or runner-up in 375 seats, there were more than 50 seats across the country where the BJP candidates fared so poorly that their deposits would be forfeited. Most of these seats are in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala.
If a candidate wins less than a sixth of total votes polled in a constituency, his or her deposit is forfeited.