New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday led the BJP to a stunning and historic victory in the Lok Sabha battle, with the ruling party itself set to win 303 seats in a marked improvement over its 2014 showing that left the opposition dazed and demoralized.
The BJP-led NDA is poised to get 348 of the 542 Lok Sabha seats where polling took place in a seven-phase election. The development sent the Sensex breaching the 40,000-mark as India Inc celebrated.
Late night Election Commission figures showed that the BJP had won 251 seats and was leading in 51. The Congress won 40 and was leading in 12, while Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress has won 15 and was leading in seven. Congress' ally DMK has won 16 seats and was leading in seven.
A large number of BJP's alliance partners appeared to put up a good show with JD(U) having already won 16 seats and leading in one, all in Bihar. The Shiv Sena won 10 seats and was leading in 8, all in Maharashtra.
Modi came to the BJP headquarters in the evening to celebrate the party's victory with the workers and sought to brush aside the bitterness of the poll campaign, saying "who said what during the campaign is past for me", and that "we have to look to the future."
Accepting the mandate with humility, Modi promised that he will not work with "ill intentions."
"The people have filled the bag of this ascetic. I bow my head to 130 crore people of the country," he said, adding he will take his critics along with humility as the Constitution is supreme.
The Prime Minister also said that the importance of the booth-level party workers has been understood by all the parties.
He said the mandate won by the BJP-led coalition was the biggest development in the democratic world and reflected the strength of democracy.
The BJP routed the Congress, which could barely improve beyond its 2014 tally of 44 seats. Party chief Rahul Gandhi suffered a shock defeat in Amethi, but won from Wayanad in Kerala. Nine of party's former chief ministers lost or were on the verge of losing.
Gandhi accepted responsibility for the party's defeat and congratulated Modi and the BJP.
"India wins yet again!" Modi said in his tweet soon after it became clear that BJP would get a majority on its own.
Congratulations poured in for Modi, who was re-elected by over 4.75 lakh votes from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. BJP President Amit Shah also won with an equally thumping margin from Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
Shah, who also addressed the function at BJP headquarters, described Modi as the world's "most popular" leader and credited him for party's spectacular victory in Lok Sabha polls.
Hitting out at opposition, he said the 2019 mandate has buried the politics of casteism, dynasty and appeasement and is "a victory of nationalism".
"Modiji is the 'mahanayak' of the BJP's grand victory. BJP's victory is most historical after Independencei," Shah said amid chants of "Modi-Modi" and "Bharat Mata Ki Jai".
He said the BJP was fighting for 50 per cent votes and today the party has garnered over 50 per cent vote share in 17 states, including Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept state after state, including those ruled by the Congress. Its most spectacular results came in Uttar Pradesh where it was set to win 60 of the 80 seats, puncturing the SP-BSP alliance, while making major inroads in West Bengal by taking the victory lap in an unprecedented 18 of the 42 seats.
In repeat of 2014, the saffron party was set to bag all 26 seats in Modi's home state Gujarat. It won all seven in Delhi, all five in Uttarakhand, all four in Himachal Pradesh and 25 in Rajasthan.
The party won both seats in Tripura as well as Arunachal Pradesh and the single seats of Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Manipur.
In Madhya Pradesh, it improved its 2014 tally and is poised to win 28 out of 29 seats. It also improved its 2014 tally in Karanataka winning 25 out 28 seats and in Bihar where it won 39 out of 40 in Bihar in alliance with the JD-U and LJP.
Congress had formed governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh after assembly polls last year and was stunned by the results.
In Maharashtra, the BJP is poised to win 41 out of 48 in Maharashtra along with the Shiv Sena, 11 out of 14 in Jharkhand and 9 out of 14 in Assam.
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who had planned a meeting of opposition parties here on Thursday in the hope of dislodging Modi, was the sole Congress winner for the Congress in Uttar Pradesh (Rae Bareli).
The SP-BSP alliance, which was confident of tripping the BJP's road to victory, suffered a blow in the country's politically most critical state. The BSP was poised to win just 10 seats and the Samajwadi Party 6 as their caste formula got drowned by Modi's election campaigning based mainly on aggressive nationalism.
The BJP's years of efforts in West Bengal finally bore fruits as its candidates were set to emerge victorious in 18 places, washing out the once formidable Left and leaving the Congress punctured. The BJP won only two seats in 2014.
The Congress had something to cheer in Punjab, where it was set to win 8 of the 13 Lok Sabha seats, and Kerala, where it decimated the Left by winning 15 seats on its own while four seats went to its allies.
The DMK-led alliance made a clean sweep of Tamil Nadu and was set to take 36 of the 38 seats, leaving only 2 to the ruling AIADMK. The Congress, a DMK ally, won 8 seats.
Just Punjab, Kerala and Tamil Nadu accounted for 31 of the Congress party's expected 52 Lok Sabha seats. In many states, the Congress failed to open its account or won just one seat.
The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) was poised to win 13 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats and also the Assembly elections. The YSR Congress Party stormed to power in Andhra Pradesh, dislodging the TDP, and was poised to bag 22 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats.
The TRS performed relatively poorly in Telangana, with victory sighted in 9 of the 17 seats.
While former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference was set to win in Srinagar, PDP leader and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti conceded defeat in Anantnag, once her stronghold.
Around 67 per cent of the nearly 900 million voters exercised their franchise in the seven-phase elections that began on April 11 and ended on May 19. Election in Vellore in Tamil Nadu was countermanded by the Election Commission.