The BJP appeared set for a resounding comeback on Thursday with leads in 269 seats while the Congress trailed far behind with 51, according to trends available with the Election Commission for 495 of 542 Lok Sabha seats.
As votes for the seven-phase parliamentary polls were counted on Thursday, the DMK was ahead in 20 seats, the Janata Dal-United in 15, the Trinamool Congress in 20 and the Bahujan Samaj Party in 12 and its ally Samajwadi Party in eight seats, according to the poll panel.
Television channels showed the BJP surging ahead with leads in more than 320 seats.
As the trends came in, pointing to another tenure of Narendra Modi as prime minister, there were reports of celebrations in the BJP’s party offices across the country.
The trends of the ruling party’s leads were in sync with the exit polls, most of which predicted that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would be on course to retain power for a second term.
In 2014, the BJP won 282 seats, leaving the Congress with an all-time low of 44 seats against the 206 it won in 2009.
The counting exercise is on in over 4,000 counting centres amid concerns raised by opposition parties over alleged tampering of EVMs. They have asked the Election Commission to ensure transparency in counting.
Election Commission officials said results are expected only by late evening.
The voting was staggered between April 11 and May 19 in which around 67 per cent of the nearly 900 million eligible people exercised their franchise to elect 542 members of the Lok Sabha from a total of 8,049 contestants.
For the first time in Lok Sabha polls, the EC is tallying the vote count on Electronic Voting Machines with voter-verified paper audit trail slips in five polling stations in each assembly segment of a parliamentary constituency.
It will effectively mean that out of nearly 10.3 lakh polling stations, the EVM-VVPAT matching will take place in 20,600 such stations.
In case of a mismatch, the results based on paper slip count will be considered as final.
Out of the 543 Lok Sabha seats, elections were held in 542 constituencies as the EC had cancelled polls to the Vellore constituency on the ground of excessive use of money power.
The Union Home Ministry on Wednesday alerted all state chief secretaries and directors general of police about possibility of eruption of violence in different parts of the country during 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.