Counting for the 2019 General Elections began at 8 am on Thursday. Results for 542 out of 543 seats are expected by the end of the day. The election in Vellore parliamentary constituency was cancelled amid allegations of suspected use of money to influence voters.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance is far ahead of everyone else in early leads, according to NDTV. Around 10.15 am, the NDA had leads in 323 seats, compared to 109 for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance and 110 for the rest.

According to the Election Commission of India, the BJP is leading in 277 seats while the Congress is ahead in 52 seats at 10.15 am. Trends are available for 519 seats.

Indian markets opened on a high note following early trends. The Sensex opened almost 600 points up while the NSE Nifty opened 150 points higher than the previous day’s close. Both indices were ahead by about 1.9% at 10.15 am.

More than 8,000 candidates contested in over seven phases beginning more than a month ago on April 11. Over 67% of the electorate turned up to cast their votes, a slight bump from the turnout back in 2014.

Most exit polls predicted that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance is likely to secure a comfortable majority in the Lok Sabha elections. They showed that the BJP is likely to lose seats in comparison to the 282 it managed alone in 2014, but its coalition will have enough to cross the majority mark of 272. The Congress will gain in its tally, but will be short of what it would need, the forecasts showed.

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All phases of voting were marred by glitches in electronic voting machines, sporadic incidents of violence and bitter election campaigning. The Opposition has over the past few months raised concerns about the functioning of Electronic Voting Machines and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail slips, but the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party as well as the Election Commission have dismissed them.

More than 4,000 counting centres are involved in the counting exercise. Election Commission officials have said results are only expected by the evening as the poll panel will tally the vote count on Electronic Voting Machines with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail slips in five polling stations in each Assembly segment of a parliamentary constituency. This is a first for Lok Sabha elections. This exercise is expected to take an additional four to five hours, EC officials said, according to PTI.

On Wednesday, the Centre had directed states and the Union Territories to remain alert and watch for violence on counting day.