The first trends of the Lok Sabha elections 2019 are here and as the exit polls had predicted, the BJP-led NDA is leading on 5 seats against the Congress left a distant second with one seat. These are the trends based on postal ballots.
BJP is leading on one seat in West Bengal and two seats in Rajasthan, as per latest updates.
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Here is the 8 AM report on trends/results of the Lok Sabha elections 2019:
BJP+: 5 | Congress: 1 | Others: 0 | NOTA: 0
Most of the exit polls have predicted that the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is on course to retain power for a second term, riding on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's charisma like the way he swept to power in 2014.
However, the opposition parties have trashed results of the exit polls, claiming that the BJP will suffer severe drubbing due to rising unemployment, farm distress and slowdown in the economy.
In the 2014 elections, the BJP won 282 seats while the Congress had suffered a severe drubbing getting an all-time low of 44 seats as against 206 it won in 2009.
From 'chowkidar chor hai' and 'bhrashtachari no. 1' to 'khaki underwear', acerbic remarks ruled the roost this election season, making it one of the most bitterly-contested parliamentary polls post Independence.
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.
The Election Commission is sticking to its plan of counting the paper trail machines slips at the end of counts and not in the beginning as demanded by opposition parties. The Commission is also learnt to have decided to count postal ballots simultaneously with Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) count due to the "sheer size" of the ballots received this time from service voters.
Till now, the postal ballots were counted in the beginning followed by votes polled in voting machines.
Out of the 18 lakh registered voters, 16.49 lakh have sent their postal ballots to their respective returning officers as on May 17.
The exercise of counting postal ballots manually will itself take a couple of hours at least, an EC official said.
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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several union ministers, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav are among key leaders who contested the polls.