Here is how the counting day unfolded:

11.40 pm: “This is a victory of the public and democracy,” says RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav. “Public saw how the govt institutions were threatened, the manner in which people have indulged in ‘jumlebaazi’. The public is angry with this tyranny.”

11.35 pm: The governor has responded to the Congress’ request for appointment, saying she can meet the party’s leaders only after the Election Commission clarifies the current situation, reports ANI.

11.32 pm: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Raj Thackeray says Rahul Gandhi “was alone in Gujarat, even in Karnataka and now too”. Will his leadership be accepted at the national level, he asks.

11.25 pm: State BJP General Secretary VD Sharma asks Congress why it is in a hurry to stake claim to form government. “They are in a hurry, the final result has not come yet,” he says. “They should wait, when the final results come, BJP will be the one with the majority.”

11.07 pm: Congress has sought an appointment with Governor Anandiben Patel late tonight to stake claim to form the government in Madhya Pradesh, reports ANI. The party has reportedly sent an email and a fax to the governor.

10.45 pm: The Congress will go to the Governor as soon as they win 116 seats, reports ANI. The party has won 69 seats and is leading in 44.

10.31 pm: Congress leader P Chidambaram says no one should attempt to steal Congress’ mandates in the Assembly elections. “The Congress will form the government in three states,” he says in a tweet. “No one – not the BJP, not the governors – should attempt to steal the election in any of the three states. The BJP must accept its defeat.”

10.16 pm: Here’s how the constituencies in Madhya Pradesh look (leads and victories as of 10 pm).

10.07 pm: Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan wins the Budhni constituency by 58,999 votes.

10 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says his party “accepts the people’s mandate with humility”. “The BJP governments in these states worked tirelessly for the welfare of the people,” he says on Twitter as he congratulates the Congress for its victories.

“The family of BJP Karyakartas [workers] worked day and night for the state elections,” he says. “I salute them for their hard work. Victory and defeat are an integral part of life. Today’s results will further our resolve to serve people and work even harder for the development of India.”

9.50 pm: The latest count shows that the BJP has won 56 seats and the Congress has won 57. The BJP is ahead in 53 seats and the Congress is leading in 57 constituencies.

9.18 pm: The BJP’s Yashodhara Raje Scindia wins from Shivpuri constituency by 28,748 votes.

8.30 pm: Congress appoints AK Antony as observer for Madhya Pradesh and MAllikarjun Kharge as observer for Chhattisgarh, ANI reports.

8.20 pm: Gandhi says the process of waiving farm loans, a promise made by the Congress during campaigning, will start as soon as the government is formed. However, he adds that loan waiver is not the solution. “The solution for this is not easy, it is complex but we will find a solution,” Gandhi says.

8.15 pm: Gandhi says politicians should listen and connect to what the people of the country feel and work with that sentiment. “Modi has taught me what not to do. He refused to listen to youngsters and farmers. Arrogance is fatal for a politician,” Gandhi adds.

7.51 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi calls the result a victory of Congress workers, small traders and farmers. “This is a big responsibility for Congress party and we will work on this,” he says. “We are going to provide these states a vision. We are going to provide these states a govt that they can be proud of.”

7.38 pm: The BJP and Congress continue to be in a neck-and-neck race. The Congress is leading in 97 seats and has won 14 seats, while the BJP is leading in 94 and has won 16.

7.29 pm: DMK President MK Stalin congratulates the winning parties.

7.25 pm: Congress workers have started celebrating outside the party office in Bhopal.

7.22 pm: Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is leading the Congress’ Arun Subhashchandra by 53,195 votes in Budhni, according to the Election Commmission.

7.14 pm: Actor-turned politician Kamal Haasan says the results are the “first sign of a new beginning”.

7.10 pm: Tamil filmstar Rajinikanth says the BJP’s losses in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan and the close contest in Madhya Pradesh show that it has “lost its influence”, reports PTI.

6.23 pm: The election results in the three Hindi heartland states is a mandate for the leadership of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, PTI quotes Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh as saying.

5.35 pm: The BJP has won three seats, and is leading in 103 others, according to the Election Commission.

4.40 pm: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray congratulated the voters of “four states for their courage [in voting BJP out]”. “Without wasting time over the question ‘what is the alternative to BJP’, voters decided to first throw out those they did not want in power, and then bother about the alternative. This is real courage,” Thackeray said.

4.15 pm: BJP leaders have gathered at CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s house to discuss the party’s strategy, News18 reports. Congress leaders, including Kamal Nath, have started closed-door consultations.

4.00 pm: The Congress is back in the lead now, leading in 113 seats. The BJP is leading in 106 seats, and won one seat, according to the Election Commission.

3.35 pm: The Gondwana Gantantra Party will hold a crucial meeting in Bhopal as Congress and BJP are engaged in a close fight, Firstpost reported. Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati reportedly summons state MLAs to Delhi to discuss the party’s next step.

3.00 pm: Congress Madhya Pradesh campaign chief Jyotiraditya Scindia says he is very confident that the Congress would form the government in the state. “Let us not put the cart before the horse. Let us wait for the verdict,” he says, when asked about posters being put up saying Kamal Nath would become the chief minister, News18 reports.

2.32 pm: Shiv Sena, an ally in the ruling National Democratic Alliance, says the outcome of the elections in all five states is a message to the BJP and there is a need for the ruling coalition to introspect.

2.06 pm: BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kakade says he knew the party would lose in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, but the trends in Madhya Pradesh have come as a surprise. “I think we forgot the issue of development that Modi took up in 2014,” Kakade tells ANI. “Ram Mandir, statues and name-changing [of cities] became the focus.”

1.57 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says that the “semi-final” elections prove that BJP is nowhere in all the states. “People voted against BJP. This is the people’s verdict and victory of the people of this country,” Banerjee says on Twitter. “Victory of democracy and victory against injustice, atrocities, destruction of institutions, misuse of agencies, no work for poor people , farmers, youth, Dalits, SC, ST, OBC, minorities and general caste.”

This is a real democratic indication of 2019 final match, she says. “Ultimately, people are always the ‘man of the match’ of democracy.”

1.36 pm: As leads on BJP and Congress show a close contest between the two parties, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweets, “ ‘Others’ in Madhya Pradesh will be a happy lot at the moment.”

1.23 pm: BJP’s UP MLA Surendra Singh claims that amendments to the SC/ST Act cost the party votes in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. Singh says the party cannot win elections by hurting sentiments of the upper castes. “If the BJP doesn’t reconsider its decision and corrects its course on the SC/ST Act, then results will be wrong for the party in 2019 as well,” Singh says.

1.04 pm: The Congress and the BJP are both leading in 109 seats, according to the Election Commission.

Congress workers celebrate at the party headquarters in Bhopal on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)
Congress workers celebrate at the party headquarters in Bhopal on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)

12.45 pm: BJP candidate Sitaran Sharma is leading in Hoshangabad, followed by the Congress’ Sartaj Singh. Singh, a former BJP MLA, had quit the party to join the Congres after he was denied ticket. BJP candidate Arvind Pateriya is leading, while Congress candidate Vikram Singh, who has won the seat three times in the past, was trailing behind. Nitin Chaturvedi, the son of former Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi, contested from the Samajwadi Party ticket.

12.40 pm: In Chitrakoot constituency, Congress candidate Neelanshu Chaturvedi is leading. Trailing behind is the BJP’s Surendra Singh Gaharwar. In 2013, Congress’ Prem Singh had won this seat. Following his death in 2017, Chaturvedi won the seat in the bye-elections. Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s son Jaivardhan Singh is leading in the party’s bastion Raghogarh against BJP’s Bhupendra Singh Raghuwanshi and BSP’s Banwari Lal Ahirwar.

12.37 pm: From Govindpura seat, a BJP bastion, former Chief Minister Babulal Gaur’s daughter Krishna Gaur is leading over Congress’ Girish Sharma. In Shivpuri constituency, BJP leader Yashodhara Raje Scindia is leading, while in Manawar seat, Congress candidate Hiralal Alawa is leading.

12.33 pm: Shivraj Singh Chouhan is leading over BJP’s Arun Yadav in Budhni seat. In Mandsaur, which was the epicentre of the farmers’ agitation in the state in 2017, BJP candidate Yashpal Singh Sisodiya is leading over Congress’ Narendra Nahata.

12.09 pm: Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Sanjeev Singh is leading in Bhind constituency, while Congress’ Gopal Singh Chauhan is leading in Chanderi seat. In Bhopal Dakshin-Paschim, BJP candidate Umashankar Gupta is leading over Congress’ PC Sharma, while in Bhopal Madhya constituency, Arif Masood is leading, leaving Congress candidate Surendra Nath Singh far behind. In Bhopal North, Congress’ Arif Aqueel is leading over BJP candidate Fatima Rasool Siddiqui.

11.50 am: In Ashok Nagar, Jajpal Singh of Congress is leading. Trailing behind is Ladduram Kori of the BJP. Raghunath Singh Malviya of BJP is leading in Ashta and Gopal Singh Engineer of the Congress is trailing behind.

11.47 am: In Ambah, Kamlesh Jatav of the Congress is leading, while Neha Kinnar, an independent candidate, is trailing. In Amla, Dr Yogesh Pandagre of the BJP is leading. Trailing behind is Manoj Malve of the Congress. In Anuppur, BJP candidate Ramlal Rautel, who earlier held the seat, is leading, and Bishahulal Singh of the Congress was trailing behind.

11.43 am: In Alote, Manoj Chawla of Congress is leading. Trailing behind is Jitendra Thawarchand Gehlot of the BJP, who earlier held the seat. In Amarpatan, Ramkhelawan Patel of the BJP is leading. Trailing behind is Dr Rajendra Kumar Singh of Congress, who earlier held the seat. Meanwhile in Amarwara, Premnarayan Thakur of the BJP is leading. Trailing behind is Kamlesh Pratap Shah of Congress, who earlier held the seat.

11.40 am: In Madhya Pradesh’s Alirajpur, Mukesh Rawat of Congress is leading. Chouhan Nagar Singh of BJP is trailing behind. This seat was earlier held by Chouhan Nagar Singh of BJP.

11.38 am: In Madhya Pradesh’s Agar, Manohar Untwal of BJP is leading. Trailing behind is Vipin Wankhede of Congress.

11.37 am: According to the Election Commission of India, the Congress is leading in 116 seats, while the BJP is leading in 94 seats. The Bahujan Samaj Party is leading in four seats.

11.17 am: Celebrations are being held at the Congress office in Bhopal, Republic reports.

11.10 am: Congress leader Kamal Nath says he is confident the party will get a “full majority”, ANI reports.

11 am: “We knew it was going to be close because of some announcements that the Congress made in the last week of the election. Those seem to have gained traction,” says senior BJP leader Yashodhara Raje Scindia, according to NDTV.

10.40 am: According to NDTV, the Congress is leading in 112 seats and the BJP in 97, while the Mayawati’s BSP is ahead in four seats.

10.14 am: BJP’s Bhupendra Singh was trailing in Khurai constitency, as was the party’s Damoh candidate Jayant Malaiya. BJP candidate Sanjay Pathak was leading in Vijayraghavgar, NDTV reports.

10.09 am: According to News18, the Congress is leading in 109 seats, while the BJP is leading in 99.

9.51 am: The Congress has now taken a lead over the BJP with 103 seats, NDTV reports. The BJP is leading in 83 seats. However, according to News18, the BJP is leading in 95 seats and the Congress is leading in 93 seats.

9.35 am: The BJP is leading in 83 seats, the Congress in 73 and the Bahujan Samaj Party in five seats, News18 reports.

9.25 am: In Sihora, BJP candidate and sitting MLA Nandni Maravi is leading against Congress’ Khiladi Singh Aarmo, according to the Election Commission of India.

9.15 am: BJP candidate Rajyavardhan Singh is leading in Narsinghgarh constituency with a margin of 57 votes, according to the Election Commission. In 2013, the Congress had won the seat.

9.13 am: The Madhya Pradesh Police on Monday arrested three people for allegedly attacking a postman and stealing 256 postal ballot papers in Bhind district, NDTV reports. Police said all the stolen material has been recovered.

9.01 am: Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh says he is confident that his party will form government in Madhya Pradesh. “It is too early. Anything can be said only after 12 pm,” Singh tells ANI. “Leads of only postal ballots have come till now...We have favourable situation in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh also.”

Digvijaya Singh’s son Jaivardhan Singh is contesting from family’s bastion Raghogarh against the BJP’s Bhupendra Singh Raghuvanshi.

Election Commission officials count postal ballots at Bhopal old jail counting centre. (Mujeeb Faruqui/HT Photo)
Election Commission officials count postal ballots at Bhopal old jail counting centre. (Mujeeb Faruqui/HT Photo)

8.35 am: Incumbent Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is leading in his home turf of Budhni, NDTV reports. According to News18, the BJP is leading in 21 seats, while the Congress and its alliance is leading in 12 seats.

8.20 am: The Congress and its alliance has gained a narrow lead in five out of 230 seats, NDTV reports. The BJP is leading in four seats.

8.05 am: The counting of votes begins for the 230-seat Madhya Pradesh Assembly.

8.00 am: Congress Madhya Pradesh unit chief Kamal Nath on Monday expressed confidence that the party will win more than 140 seats. “We will win more than 140 seats. Wait till tomorrow; everything will be clear by then,” he told ANI.

7.15 am: Bhopal City Superintendent of Police says dedicated teams have been deployed to ensure full security. “Diversion points put on roads outside centres. There’s a 3-tier security system. Any device that can help communication isn’t allowed inside,” he adds.

7.05 am: Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer VL Kantha Rao says 15,000 employees have been drafted for the counting process. Around 1,200 closed circuit television cameras have been installed at 51 centres across the state, says Rao.