New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday tweeted "India wins yet again" after results showed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance is set to return to power for a second term. The BJP will create history by becoming the first non-Congress government to return to power with a full majority.
In a wave stronger than ever before, the saffron party has swept the Hindi heartland and Gujarat, as was expected. But in a startling development, it also managed to secure a strong foothold in West Bengal, Odisha, Tripura, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. Only Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh appeared to be untouched by the Modi wave. In Telangana, where it was expected to fare poorly, the BJP was ahead in four seats, the same as the regional Telangana Rashtra Samiti.
In the counting of votes for the 17th Lok Sabha polls, the BJP was leading in 302 of the 543 seats that went to polls this general election, according to the Election Commission. Of this, the party has won 15 seats, while counting was still underway in others. Rival Congress was leading in 50 seats. The trends echo the exit polls, most of which forecast the NDA securing as many as 365 seats.
In Odisha, the BJP was ahead in nine of the 21 seats, bettering its 2014 tally when it had managed just one seat in the state. The Biju Janata Dal was ahead in 11 seats in the state.
Dealing a massive blow to the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal, the BJP has raked in a stunning 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state, up from its previous tally of just two seats. The Left was wiped out in the state, once its citadel.
In Karnataka, of the total 28 seats, the BJP was leading in 25 seats, bettering its 2014 performance when it won 17 seats.
In one of the rare bright spots for the Congress, the alliance of the grand old party and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was ahead in Tamil Nadu, with the alliance leading in 36 seats of 39 seats.
The Congress is also looking to sweep most of the 20 seats in Kerala. The results beat exit poll forecasts, most of which said the Congress will win 15-16 seats.
It was in 1984 last that Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress had claimed an overwhelming victory in Lok Sabha elections, winning 414 seats of the 514 seats that went to polls that time. A newly-minted party, the BJP that year won two seats.
In 2014, the BJP won 282 seats, allowing the Congress just 44 seats, an all-time low, against the 206 it won in 2009.
Counting for votes for the 17th Lok Sabha elections started at 8AM. The bitterly-fought seven-phase exercise stretched over 39 days and saw the highest-ever turnout for an election at 67.1%. Nearly 900 million eligible to exercise their franchise voted in this election.
In a major shift of stance from 2014 when Modi rode to power on his ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ agenda, he has this time sought another term on the basis of strong and clean governance, rooting out corruption, providing social welfare schemes directly to the beneficiaries and muscular nationalism.
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