The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, or the INDIA bloc, will decide on Wednesday whether to remain in the Opposition or attempt to form the government at the Centre, Congress leaders said on Tuesday.

The Lok Sabha election results on Tuesday defied exit poll predictions, with the Bharatiya Janata Party having failed to reach the majority mark on its own and the Congress having significantly improved its seat share as compared to 2019.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, with leads in 292 seats, is expected to cross the halfway mark but the coalition’s majority may be threatened if its allies decide to switch sides. The INDIA bloc currently has leads in 233 seats, 39 seats below the majority mark of 272.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said at a press conference on Tuesday that the constituents of the INDIA coalition will hold a meeting on Wednesday, during which they will decide whether to sit in Opposition or attempt to form the government.

“These questions will be raised and answered there,” Gandhi said. “We will not make any statements without holding discussions with our partners.”

The Wayanad MP added: “Through this election, the people of the country have said that they do not want [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi and [Home Minister Amit] Shah.” He claimed that the results were a victory for the INDIA bloc’s “pro-poor and pro-production” vision.

Watch: Elections Online – the election results coverage by five independent newsrooms

Gandhi, who won from both the Rae Bareli and Wayanad seats, thanked voters from both constituencies. He, however, did not state which of the constituencies he would vacate.

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge described the election result as a “moral defeat” for Modi and said that voters have not given a majority to any one party.

“The prime minister’s election campaign will be remembered through history,” Kharge said. “Modi spread lies about the Congress manifesto, but the people saw through them.”

Modi and other leaders of the BJP had claimed on the campaign trail that the Congress intended to create reservations for Muslims at the cost of reservations intended for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.

The Congress manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections, however, did not talk about religion-based reservations for any community.

UP voters performed a miracle: Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi on Tuesday remarked that the electorate in Uttar Pradesh “performed a miracle” by giving the INDIA bloc the most seats in the state.

The Samajwadi Party, which is part of the INDIA coalition, won 38 out of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh, while the Congress got 6 seats. The BJP won in 32 seats, a sharp fall from the 62 constituencies where it emerged victorious in 2019.

“The people of Uttar Pradesh understood the threat to the Constitution and saved it,” Gandhi said on Tuesday.

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