- Congress, allies just above 90 in leads as BJP sweeps national elections
- Party staring at defeat in Hindi heartland states it won in December
- Rahul Gandhi fighting tough battle to retain his constituency Amethi
Amid a devastating outlook for the Congress as votes were counted on Thursday in the national election, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was seen driving to the home in Delhi of her brother Rahul Gandhi, the party chief.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to return to power with a spectacular mandate; his BJP will win a majority on its own and along with allies, cross 300, according to leads. The Congress and its allies are just above 100 in leads.
Rahul Gandhi is fighting a tough battle to keep Amethi, his constituency since 2004, against a strong challenge from the BJP's Smriti Irani. He is ahead in Wayanad.
What is worse for the party is that the BJP looks set for a landslide in states like Rajasthan, which the Congress won just in December.
The Congress is looking at a poor result also in Madhya Pradesh, another state it had bagged in the assembly election.
"Rahul Gandhi fought the battle from the front... He fought bravely and took on the BJP... He ran a clean campaign and was respected by many for it... He did not shy away from anything," said Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
Yesterday, Rahul Gandhi had tweeted in an appeal to Congress workers: "The next 24 hours are important. Be alert and vigilant. Don't be afraid. You are fighting for the truth. Don't be disheartened by what the fake exit polls are propagating. Have faith in yourselves and the Congress. Your hard work will not be in vain, Jai Hindi."
Right after exit polls on Sunday, Priyanka Gandhi had said in a similar message to party workers that they should not fall for "rumours" intended to make them drop their guard ahead of the counting of votes.
"My dear Congress workers, sisters and brothers... Don't let rumours and exit polls discourage you. This is being done just to break your determination. It is very important that you remain alert amid all this. Please continue to keep vigil outside strongrooms and counting centres. We are confident that our combined efforts will bear fruit," she said in the audio message.