Latest results - Congress trounces BJP in 2009 India electionMay 16th, 2009 - 10:50 pm ICT by John Le Fevre
Counting in the 2009 India general election took place today and within an hour analysts were already noticing a trend favoring the ruling Indian National Congress (Congress)-lead coalition of Prime Minister Dr. Mammohan Singh.
With 543 seats up for grab and an estimated 428.4 million votes to count, the day was the culmination of five rounds of voting spread over an entire month.
For the ruling Congress party the first good news was delivered at 10.30am when the Kannur constituency in Kerala - previously a bastion of Communist/Marxist parties – was ruled to have been won by Congress.
In Delhi, Varun Gandhi, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate and grandson of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi - who was arrested and spent a fortnight in jail for making hate-speeches against Muslims during his campaign - took an early lead.
This though was one of the few highlights for the BJP and by 11.00am pundits and pollsters were already predicting a return of the Congress-led UPA alliance.
Less than three hours after counting had begun, BJP leader Balbir Punj said on the CNN-IBN channel, “the results are unexpected. We are disappointed with the results. We have learnt our lesson.”
Just a few minutes later celebrations were breaking out at the Congress party headquarters in Delhi.
By 1.00am the outcome was signaled when Prime Minister Singh received a congratulatory telephone call from Congress party president Sonia Gandhi
From then on the day went from bad to worse for the BJP and by late afternoon analysts were calculating a swing of about seven percent in favor of Congress, providing it with its best result since 1991 when it won 232 seats.
One particular highlight for Congress was the parties revival in Uttar Pradesh under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, who decided to contest the election without the support of the regional Samajwadi party resulting in it regaining its traditional base among the poor, Muslims and high-caste Brahmins.
In Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh, Congress party president Sonia Gandhi won her seat by a record margin of 372,165 votes over her rival R S Kushwaha of the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Samajwadi party chief and political heavyweight Mulayam Singh Yadav was won of the biggest losers and was facing the loss of 14 out of the 35 seats he won in the last election as a result of Muslim segments of the party throwing their support behind Congress.
In India’s fourth largest state, Andhra Pradesh, record voter turnout of 73 percent of eligible voters saw Congress win 28 of the 42 available seats and returned to power there for a second consecutive term.
Business and trade associations in India were quick to welcome the result, describing the victory of the Congress-led UPA as a clear mandate for the government to press ahead with the reforms agenda needed to boost the country and its economy.
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