Proving exit polls right, the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday appeared set to retain power as its candidates alone led in 294 of the 541 Lok Sabha seats with its allies faring equally well across the country, stunning the opposition.
The BJP made stunning inroads in West Bengal where its candidates were ahead in 15 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats while the ruling Trinamool Congress was on the top in 25 places. The BJP had won only two seats in 2014. The Congress led in one place while the Left, which ruled the state for decades, faced a washout.
Good news for the BJP poured in from almost all parts of the Hindi heartland and even beyond including Uttar Pradesh, where the SP-BSP alliance was expected to trip its path to victory, as well as Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra besides the Congress-ruled Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and in Karnataka where the Congress-JD-S are in power.