BJP Leads as early trends trickle
Early trends show that the BJP is ahead in at least
And some shocking results could be in the offing.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi is trailing in Amethi
against federal minister Smriti Irani.
And some are going on along expected lines.
Home Minister Rajnath SIngh is leading from Lucknow in
Uttar Pradesh while Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari is leading in
Please stay with us for more updates on key seats.
The mood at Congress headquarters
Trends across local media shows the main opposition
Congress party is trailing far behind the governing BJP.
Our correspondent is at the opposition party's headquarters in capital
Delhi and this is the scene outside:
India's 'student rebel' is confident of victory
The mother of Kanhaiya Kumar, the student leader who
shot to fame in 2016 when he was arrested and charged with sedition, is
already cooking a victory breakfast, says our correspondent Vineet Khare,
who is at his constituency of Begusarai in the eastern state of Bihar.
Mr Kumar is from the Communist Party of India (CPI),
which has become less important over the years but Begusarai has long
been a Communist stronghold - it was even called the "Leningrad of
Mr Kumar, who grew up here, quickly became a symbol of
the fight against the Hindu nationalist politics of the BJP.
To read more about Mr Kumarís campaign and his
chances, check out this profile on him by Neha Thirani Bagri.
Heavy security at a counting centre in bellwether state
There is a massive security presence at a counting
centre in Lucknow - a city in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, which
elects the maximum number of 80 MPs to the Indian parliament.
Early trends in the state so far show that Rajnath
Singh, India's home minister, is leading there.
BJP's controversial Pragya Thakur leads
The BJP's controversial leader Sadhvi Pragya Thakur is
leading from the Bhopal constituency in the central Indian state of
Madhya Pradesh, local media reports.
Just a reminder that these are early trends as only
postal ballots are being counted at the moment.
Ms Thakur sparked a controversy when she said Nathuram
Godse - Mahatma Gandhi's killer - was a patriot.
She later apologised after facing criticism from her
own party and others.
Her candidacy also caused outrage as she is an accused
of involvement in a blast that killed seven people and injured 100
others in the mainly Muslim town of Malegaon in 2006. Ms Thakur denies
all charges against her.
The 'watchman' prime minister
The campaignís biggest buzzword has probably been
ďchowkidarĒ or watchman.
Initially, Prime Minister Narendra Modi used the term
in speeches to describe himself as a watchmen - someone who protects and
serves the people.
But in April, he upped the ante by changing his
Twitter handle to "Chowkidar Narendra Modi" - prompting other senior
members of his cabinet and the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to
do the same.
And at one point, he even addressed a crowd of 250,000
watchmen across the country through an audio link. The "chowkidar" theme
proverbially broke the internet with memes, tweets and posts.
And even supporters of the BJP started changing their
social media handles and pictures to include the word.
Opposition parties couldnít avoid the word either -
even when Congress president Rahul Gandhi said, ďChowkidar Chor Hain"
(The watchman is a thief), he was essentially playing by Mr Modi's
We wondered what real security guards thought of this
chowkidar business, so we asked them.
Indian elections: Why you should care
With 900 million eligible voters, India's election is
being closely watched around the world.
The BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan explains why everyone
Early results are trickling in...
And it looks like the governing Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP) is taking a tentative lead.
Counting starts in Kashmir... but it shouldn't take
The counting of votes has begun in Indian-administered
Kashmir. It shouldn't take too long - the state had the worst turnout
Just 29.39% of eligible voters actually turned up to
cast their ballots.
Very early leads for Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad
Very early trends show that the leader of India's main
opposition Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, is leading in Wayanad in the
southern state of Kerala.
Mr Gandhi raised a lot of eyebrows when he decided he
would stand there, in addition to his usual seat of Amethi in Uttar
His critics said that it showed he was afraid of
losing in Amethi - his margin of victory in 2014 over the BJPís Smriti
Irani was seen as being too close. But others say this could actually be
part of a wider strategy to rejuvenate the party's base in the south,
which has been dominated by regional parties for decades.
Wayanad is considered a "safe seat" for Congress.
BBC Hindi's Imran Qureshi says that the Congress
already has a strong presence in the Wayanad constituency, adding that
this is partly due to the high percentage of Muslims and Christians in
Don't forget... it's all about Uttar Pradesh
The northern state elects the maximum number of 80 MPs
and that carries plenty of heft in the 545-seat Lok Sabha. Eight of
Indiaís 14 prime ministers have also come from UP.
In 2014, Mr Modiís BJP swept UP, winning 71 seats, and
two other constituencies went to an ally. He is, obviously, hoping for
at a polling station in Uttar Pradesh earlier this month
But this time, itís unlikely to be a cake walk - heís
being challenged by a grand alliance of regional parties that has seen
the coming together of former bitter foes Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav as
well as some smaller players.
Even the exit polls have not been able to agree on
what the outcome in the state could be. The predictions have wildly
varied - some have given the party 50 seats, while others have said it
will only win around 20.
The market that's a counting centre today
The BBC's India correspondent Yogita Limaye is in
Varanasi - the ancient city in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh from
where Narendra Modi stood.
This picture is of a food grains market in the city
that has been transformed into a counting centre for today.
The chequered history of India's Electronic Voting
Electronic Voting Machines or EVMs have been in use
for years in India. They were used for the first time, on an
experimental basis, in 50 polling booths in the Paravur assembly
constituency in Kerala in 1982.
Their use was then challenged in the Supreme Court as
they weren't recognised as an official voting method under Indian law.
Two years later, in 1984, a re-poll was ordered in Paravur, using paper
In 1982-83, the machines were used in 10 other seats
across seven states and union territories. These elections weren't
In 1988, after it became legal to use the machines,
EVMs were used in 16 assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and
After a large feedback study which concluded that
voters trusted the machines, the EVMs were used in more than 680,000
polling stations in the 2004 elections.
There have been allegations that the EVMs can be
hacked, usually by losing parties. Election authorities have maintained
that the machines are robust and tamper proof.
India used more than 1.7 million machines in the 2019
The counting has begun and postal ballots are being
counted first. It's largely security personnel deployed in different
parts of the country who are allowed to vote via postal ballots.
Indian media show the BJP ahead in the postal count -
but bear in mind this is just a fraction of the overall result and the
numbers are likely to change.
Rahul Gandhi: The 'reluctant prince'
India's main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi was all
but written off after his crushing defeat in the last elections.
But he has energised a struggling Congress party and
increasingly set the agenda with a combative campaign.
He has challenged Mr Modi and the BJP on a number of
issues including unemployment, the economy and a controversial deal to
acquire fighter jets from France.
He has also been much more present on the campaign
trail, even going so far as to stand for election in two seats this
time. Candidates can do that in India - if they win both, they have to
choose which to represent and the other goes to a by-election.
See voting trends and leads in real time
The counting of votes has just begun, but we are
expected to see early leads across many constituencies.
This is because the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)
are counted in batches, and results released in phases.
The media report the results in real time as they
Why the final results could be delayed
Each of India's 1.7 million voting machines record a
maximum of 2,000 votes (the number of registered voters at any given
polling booth does not exceed 1,500) and 64 candidates.
They save time: results from machines in a single
parliamentary seat are available within three to five hours, down from
40 hours when ballots were counted manually. The machines have also
eliminated "invalid" votes and led to huge cost savings.
India's 1.7 million voting machines record a maximum of
When a vote is cast, a paper slip is printed
containing the serial number, name and symbol of the candidate and
remains exposed through a transparent window for seven seconds. After
this, this slip automatically gets cut and falls into a sealed drop box.
Authorities have decided to tally the paper trail
slips and compare them with the electronic result provided by the
machine in at least 5% of booths in assembly seats. This could lead to a
delay in the declaration of final results.
Congress party praying for a win
The main opposition Congress party is praying for a
win - literally.
Party workers are offering prayers outside the
official headquarters in the capital Delhi
Indiaís six-week election in two minutes
The results of Indiaís marathon election will be
released today. If you havenít been paying much attention, hereís what
This time itís all about one man...
And that man is Narendra Modi.
Indiaís 68-year-old prime minister led his Hindu
nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to a landslide win in 2014 and
is hoping to repeat that performance this time around.
The BJP-led alliance needs to win 272 seats to stay in
power on its own in the 543-seat parliament.
He is up against powerful regional parties and a
resurgent Congress, the main opposition party. But the election is
really about Mr Modi - analysts believe it will largely be a referendum
on his leadership.
And despite a patchy record in delivering on his 2014
campaign promises, he remains the BJPís main vote-getter, says our
correspondent Soutik Biswas.
Mr Modi is a polarising figure. His supporters hail
him as a strongman who gives India the decisive leadership they believe
it needs, but his critics accuse him of being a hardliner who has done
little to protect minorities.
If you want to understand why he is seen as divisive,
Thirty minutes to go...
before the first results start coming in. But that has
not stopped enthusiastic supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party from
starting the celebrations....
Meanwhile our correspondents are already feeling the
How do you count hundreds of millions of votes?
India had 900 million eligible voters and though all
of them didnít participate in this election, thereís still a LOT of
votes to be counted!
So how does it work?
First, the Electronic Voting Machines or EVMs which
were used to cast votes are brought out from secure rooms and unsealed.
They are then individually inspected by counting staff and agents. The
process is overseen by a returning officer.
When he or she is satisfied a voting machine has not
been tampered with, they press a button marked "result".
The officer assesses the total number of votes
recorded against each candidate displayed on the control unit. If
satisfied, he or she will sign the results sheet and share it with the
The EVMs are counted in batches, and results released
in phases. The media report the results in real time as they emerge.
Final results on the Election Commission website come later.
All the machines now have printers producing
voter-verifiable paper audit trails to ensure transparency.
The authorities will tally the paper trail slips -
which are kept in separate sealed boxes - and compare them with the
electronic result provided by the machine in at least 5% of polling
booths. Election officials say this process could delay final results by
a couple of hours.
And here's a snapshot of the Congress office
Our correspondent Zubair Ahmed is at the picturesque
headquarters of India's main opposition Congress party in Delhi.
The ruling party office is a hive of activity...
Outside a counting centre in a big ticket state
BBC Hindi correspondent Salman Ravi is outside a
counting centre in the eastern city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta).
The city is the capital of West Bengal state, which
sends the third highest number of MPs (42) to parliament.
The current chief minister is Mamata Banerjee, a
hugely popular and fiery female leader whose relationship with Prime
Minister Modi has become increasingly testy.
It looks like the counting, set to begin at 08:00 IST
(02:30 GST), will take place under tight security.
Will the exit polls prove right?
Will the exit polls which all saw easy wins for the
the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) prove right today?
The highest poll prediction for the alliance was 365
seats, and the lowest 242. An average of all exit polls gave the NDA 295
Any party or coalition needs at least 272 seats to
secure a majority in parliament and form a government
However, analysts warn exit polls have often been
wrong in the past.
The BJP has of course, welcomed the prediction and
many of its leaders congratulated party workers' efforts on social
However, many opposition parties dismissed the polls
outright, to which the BJP replied, "accept defeat with grace".
Your guide to the Indian election
If you want to understand whatís going on - like whoís
competing and the key issues at stake - check out our really simple
guide to the Indian election.
For something a bit more in-depth, try this explainer
by our India correspondent Soutik Biswas.
And if you want to know more about the voting process,
check out this video:
A report from the heartland of Indian politics
Editor, women and social affairs India
Iím in Lucknow in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh
- the "bellwether state" of Indian politics.
Itís believed that whoever wins Indiaís most populous
state, wins the country. Uttar Pradesh sends 80 MPs to parliament, more
than any other state.
Also eight of India's 14 prime ministers are from
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is originally from
Gujarat, also chose Uttar Pradesh to make his debut as an MP in 2014
when he stood for election in the ancient city of Varanasi.
The BJPís performance in the state then was nothing
less than dramatic - it won 73 seats.
The question everyone is asking now is can they
replicate that performance this time around as well?
The big day is here!
Six weeks, 677 parties and 8,049 candidates in 543
constituencies, 900 million eligible voters... this is the largest
election the world has ever seen.
And it all comes down to today.
The counting of hundreds of millions of votes begins
at 08:00 local time [02:30 GMT] and in a few hours we will find out who
is going to form Indiaís next government.
We will be bringing you reports from our
correspondents around the country, expert analysis, video and much more.