The counting of votes is under way for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Exit poll predictions are coming true with the BJP tally hovering around the 300 mark.
Polling on 542 seats to elect the 17th Lok Sabha took place in a mega seven-phase general elections that started on April 11 and ended on May 19.Around 67 per cent of the nearly 900 million eligible people exercised their franchise to elect 542 MPs from a total of 8,049 candidates.
For the first time in general elections, the Election Commission of India has decided to tally the vote count on Electronic Voting Machines with voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips at five polling stations in each Assembly segment of a Lok Sabha constituency. Out of the nearly 10.3 lakh polling stations, the EVM-VVPAT tallying will take place in 20,600. If there is a mismatch, the results based on paper slip count will be considered final.
This exercise will take an additional four to five hours, according to EC officials.
In 2014, the BJP had won 282 seats while the Congress had to content with an all-time low of 44 seats as against the 206 it won in 2009. As a result, it failed to fulfil the criterion of enjoying 10 per cent of the total House strength to be able to install its Leader of the Opposition. An entire term just passed by without a Leader of the Opposition as no other party fitted the bill either.
According to the Election Commission of India, the voting percentage of 67.11 was the highest ever in the history of Lok Sabha elections. Of the 543 Lok Sabha seats, elections were held in 542 as the polls to the Vellore constituency had been cancelled on the ground of excessive use of money power. A new date has not been announced yet.
Among the key candidates who contested the polls are Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several Union ministers, BJP chief Amit Shah, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.Also among the candidates are several former chief ministers who are trying their luck.