The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance is leading in more than 300 seats as counting is well underway on Thursday. The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, however, is ahead in fewer than 100 seats, while other parties are ahead in 100 others.

At 5.30 pm, the BJP had won 15 seats and was ahead in 288 seats, while the Congress had won two and was leading in 49, according to the Election Commission of India. The National Democratic Alliance is either winning or ahead in 340 seats, compared to 93 for the United Progressive Alliance and 109 for the rest, according to NDTV.

Votes are being counted for 542 out of 543 Lok Sabha seats because the election in Vellore constituency was cancelled amid allegations of suspected use of money to influence voters.

The BJP and its allies were leading in 37 of the 40 seats in Bihar and won one constituency. Similarly, the BJP and its allies are leading in 60 of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh, and have won one. The Bahujan Samaj Party-Samajwadi Party alliance is leading in only 16 seats.

In Rajasthan, the NDA was ahead in all 25 seats. The BJP was leading in all 29 seats in Madhya Pradesh and all 26 seats of Gujarat, all 11 seats in Chhattisgarh. The BJP and its ally were ahead in 12 of 14 seats in Jharkhand. In Maharashtra, the NDA was ahead in 40 of 48 seats and had won one seat.

In Tamil Nadu, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-Congress alliance is leading in 37 of the 38 Lok Sabha seats, while the AIADMK-BJP alliance is only ahead in one seat.

Of the 29 seats in Karnataka, the BJP has won 10 and is leading in 15 others. The Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) have won one seat each.

In Andhra Pradesh, the YSR Congress is leading in 23 of 25 seats, while the Telugu Desam Party is ahead in three. In Kerala, the Congress-led United Democratic Front is leading in 18 of 20 seats, while the Left Democratic Front is ahead in two seats. In Telangana, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and its ally All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen are ahead in 10 seats, the BJP in 4 and Congress in 3.

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Trends as of 5.45 pm.
Trends as of 5.45 pm.

Assembly elections

Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik looks set for a fifth straight term as the Odisha chief minister, with his party maintaining its dominant position in the state Assembly polls. Leads show the BJD ahead on 69 seats, the BJP on 21 seats and the Congress on seven.

In Andhra Pradesh, the YSR Congress Party appears to be heading for a landslide. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s party is leading in 141 out of 175 seats. Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party is far behind with 32 seats.

The Pema Khandu-led BJP in Arunachal Pradesh is leading in early trends. It has won 10 out of the 14 seats for which leads were available.

In Sikkim, the Pawan Kumar Chamling-led Sikkim Democratic Front is trailing. It has won just two out of the seven seats for which trends were available around 11.30 am. The Opposition Sikkim Krantikari Morcha is ahead in the remaining seats. Chamling will be denied a sixth straight term as chief minister if the SDF loses the polls.

Sensex touches record high

Indian markets opened on a high note following the early trends. The Sensex opened almost 600 points high and hit a record high of 40,109 in morning trade. The NSE Nifty reached a high of 12,035. But the markets then cooled off. The Sensex closed nearly 300 points lower at 38,811.39, while the Nifty was about 81 points lower at 11,657.05.

Final tally only by evening

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.

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.