India elections 2019: All the latest updates

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Counting of votes in under way in India after its marathon seven-phase general elections concluded on May 19, with early leads indicating the return of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a second term.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leading in over 320 of the 542 seats that went to the polls.

The opposition United Progressive Alliance (UPA) headed by the Indian National Congress (INC) alliance is leading in about 100.

The party or coalition with a simple majority (272 seats) is invited to form the government. The MPs from the winning party or coalition elect their leader, who then becomes the country’s prime minister.

In 2014, the BJP had won an absolute majority in the 545-member Lok Sabha (House of the People), the Indian parliament’s lower house.

About 67 percent of more than 900 million eligible voters cast their ballots in the staggered elections that the ruling party fought on issues of national security and a hardline Hindu agenda.

The opposition parties raised issues such as a massive job crisis and farming distress, with the Congress party levelling allegations of corruption over the purchase of French Rafale fighter jets by the government.

Counting is also being held for four state assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim.

Here are the latest updates:

‘We have lost the battle’

Amarinder Singh, chief minister of the northern state of Punjab and a senior Congress leader, has conceded defeat in the general elections. 

“We have lost the battle,” Singh told the India Today TV news channel. The Congress is yet to officially release its statement on the defeat.

India’s foreign minister congratulates Modi 

Modi’s party has won the general election, a senior BJP leader has said as early results suggest a sweep by the right-wing party.

“Many congratulations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for delivering such a massive victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party,” Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj posted on Twitter.

“I express my gratitude to the people of the country.” 

Indian general election

BJP supporters celebrate after learning of initial poll results in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad city [Amit Dave/Reuters]

Indian stocks hit record highs as Modi leads

Indian shares surge to record highs as early trends showed the BJP-led NDA coalition was way ahead of its main opposition UPA led by the Congress.

Investor sentiment has been buoyant since exit polls were announced on Sunday, with both the National Stock Exchange index and the Bombay Stock Eschange index gaining 3.7 percent each the next session, a level last seen in 2014.

Modi wins second term, says Indian TV channel

India’s NDTV news channel has said Modi’s BJP has crossed the halfway mark of 272 seats in the lower house of India’s parliament “on its own steam” within two hours of the counting.

INTERACTIVE: Indian elections 2019 - Why does the map look this way?
INTERACTIVE: Indian elections 2019 – Why does the map look this way? [Al Jazeera]

The BJP has performed well in the Hindi-speaking states in the north – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the network said.

The state governments in all the three states are headed by the opposition Congress.

Modi expected to hold power for a second term

Early trends show Modi and his Hindu nationalist BJP may retain power for a second straight term.

The trends at 10.30 am (0500 GMT) showed the BJP leading in 326 of the 542 seats, followed by the Congress at 106, according to the Indian media.

A party or coalition needs 272 votes for a simple majority in Lok Sabha, Indian parliament’s lower house.

Indian general elections

Election staff members sort ballot papers before counting them inside a vote counting centre in Ahmedabad [Amit Dave/Reuters]

Postal ballots first to be counted

The “postal ballots” are counted first, followed by votes from the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), Al Jazeera’s Sohail Rahman reported from capital New Delhi.

Postal ballots are cast by security personnel serving in the armed and paramilitary forces, and diplomats serving outside India.

Counting of 600 million votes begins

India is counting about 600 million votes in its general election with a coalition led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party predicted to win a clear majority.

The vote count started at 0800 local time (0230 GMT), and results are likely to be clear later in the day. If there is a clear trend, this should be evident by around midday (0630 GMT). 

Exit polls pointed to a victory for Modi but such projections have been wrong in the past.

Read more here

INTERACTIVE: Indian elections 2019 - Government April 29

 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/indian-general-elections-2019-latest-updates-190521080547337.html

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