International Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies slipped into early lead against challenger Congress as trends began pouring in soon after the counting of votes began today in India's parliamentary elections.
As per trends projected by NDTV at 9am Indian time, BJP-led National Democratic Alliance was ahead in over 280 seats and Congress-led UPA leads in 121seats and others in 107 out of the total of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha, our New Delhi correspondent reports.
In West Bengal where there are total 42 seats, initial trends show theBJP ahead in 16 seats as against the state's rulin Trinamool Congress in 15.
The BJP is pinning a lot of hope in West Bengal to make up for potential losses it might suffer in heartland states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where the party had peaked in the last national elections five years ago.
A party or coalition needs at least 272 seats to secure a majority in the 543-member lower house of parliament, or Lok Sabha.
In 2014, the BJP captured 282 seats - the biggest victory by any party in 30 years. The Congress, which won just 44, suffered its worst defeat.
This year, there were 900 million voters eligible to take part, making it the largest election the world had ever seen.
The fate of more than 8,000 candidates and some 670 political parties hangs on the ballot.
Results will be released in phases by the Election Commission - a picture of who is winning could emerge within hours, or it could take longer depending on how close the race is.
Final results are not expected until late on Thursday local time, or early Friday. Extra checks matching printed ballots against electronic voting machine results could delay the process.
risingbd/May 23, 2019/Mukul