New Delhi (Sputnik): The counting of votes for the 17th Lok Sabha elections commenced on Thursday at 8:00 am local time. While the trends started coming in within the hour, the fate of the 8,049 candidates contesting 542 constituencies is only expected to be declared in the evening.
The exit polls on 19 May predicted a pro-incumbency wave and projected that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA will comfortably cross the halfway mark of 272 seats to form the next government. Despite these predictions, opposition parties have dismissed the results of the exit polls as fake.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has rebuffed allegations by a section of media and opposition parties that electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in these parliamentary elections were being tampered with to favour the incumbent Modi government.
Update: India Elections Early Trends 2019: BJP leads in 269 constituencies, Congress in 51
The counting of votes is also taking place for four state Assemblies — Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh, which were held along with the general elections.
Among the keenly watched constituencies will be the northern city of Varanasi from where Prime Minister Modi is seeking re-election; the northern city of Amethi and southern Wayanad from where Indian National Congress (INC) president Rahul Gandhi is contesting.