This Article is From May 24, 2019

Lok Sabha Election Results 2019: From Amethi To Bhopal, The Ten Most Intense Battles On Counting Day

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has gained an overwhelming lead in Varanasi, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi is locked in a neck-and-neck battle with Smriti Irani in Amethi.

Lok Sabha Election Results 2019: From Amethi To Bhopal, The Ten Most Intense Battles On Counting Day

The BJP has swept the country for the second time in the 2019 elections.

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi-led BJP looked set to return to power with an overwhelming mandate as the results of the Lok Sabha elections trickled in on Thursday. Riding on a wave of nationalism spurred by the February 26 Balakot air strikes, the party made deep inroads into West Bengal and put to rest speculations that its influence was on the wane in northern states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. An ambitious attempt at opposition unity by the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh was all but decimated by the BJP juggernaut, which was seen to be leading in 57 of its 80 seats until reports last came in. The Congress and its allies, however, seem to have achieved a few face-savers in Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, among others. Here's a look at key battles that are still unfolding in constituencies across the country.

Here are the top 10 developments on counting day.

  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has notched an overwhelming lead of 1.83 lakh votes over his closest rival, Shalini Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi. Despite Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's spirited campaign in the parliamentary constituency over the last few months, party candidate Ajay Rai remained a distant third with just over 50,000 votes.

  2. Congress president Rahul Gandhi is fighting to retain Amethi, a traditional party stronghold, in the face of a spirited challenge from Union Minister Smriti Irani. Ms Irani was leading by over 6,000 votes until reports last came in, although this may change as the day wears on.

  3. Rahul Gandhi, however, is going strong in Kerala's Wayanad with an unassailable lead of more than two lakh votes over his closest CPI rival PP Suneer. Ms Irani has repeatedly alleged that the Congress president decided to contest from the second parliamentary constituency in South India because he was "certain of defeat"in Amethi.

  4. Rahul Gandhi's mother -- UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi -- has gained a comfortable 40,000 lead over her BJP rival Dinesh Pratap Singh in Raebareli. The Samajwadi Party-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh had decided against fielding candidates in Raebareli and Amethi in order to avoid cutting into the Congress vote.

  5. Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha's decision to contest the elections from Patna Sahib in Bihar as a Congress candidate does not seem to be bearing fruit, with poll trends showing him trailing the BJP's Ravi Shankar Prasad by nearly 80,000 votes. Mr Sinha had won the constituency by 4.85 lakh votes as a BJP candidate in 2014.

  6. Despite the controversies surrounding her, BJP candidate Pragya Thakur has gained a comfortable lead of more than 41,000 votes over rival Digvijaya Singh in Madhya Pradesh's Bhopal constituency. However, the Congress veteran's tally of 1.21 lakh votes is not seen as dismal, given that Bhopal has been a BJP stronghold since 1989.

  7. Former student leader Kanhaiya Kumar's attempt to enter the Lok Sabha from Bihar's Begusarai also seems to have come under a cloud, with the CPI candidate trailing the BJP's Giriraj Singh by more than 1.66 lakh votes. Rashtriya Janata Dal candidate Mohammad Tanweer Hassan remained a distant third.

  8. In Karnataka's Mandya, Janata Dal Secular (JDS) chief Deve Gowda's grandson Nikhil Gowda is caught in a neck-and-neck battle with Sumalatha Ambareesh, who decided to contest the elections as an independent candidate after being denied a ticket by the ruling coalition in the state. Her husband, late Karnataka superstar Ambareesh, was a Congress candidate.

  9. Although the Congress is doing comparatively well in Punjab, actor-turned-politician Sunny Deol seems set to bag the Gurdaspur seat for the BJP with a lead of 48,000 votes against the Congress' Sunil Kumar Jakhar. Sunny Deol, whose father Dharmendra and stepmother Hema Malini are also aligned with the BJP, had joined the party last month.

  10. Shatrughan Sinha's wife, Poonam Sinha, seems to be fighting a losing battle against Union Minister Rajnath Singh in Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow. Ms Sinha, who had joined the Samajwadi Party last month, is trailing the BJP veteran by nearly 1.6 lakh votes.