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Early results point to a huge stunning victory for PM Narendra Modi

Early results in India’s national election point to a large victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Over the past six weeks, hundreds of millions of Indians cast their ballots using electronic voting machines in polling booths across the length and breadth of the country.

The vote has far-reaching consequences for India’s democracy and economy. Preliminary results from the Election Commission show the BJP leading in a stunning 294 seats, well above the 272-seat majority mark in parliament. The opposition Congress party is leading in 50 seats.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept to power in 2014, looks on course to keep his commanding majority.

He was up against a resurgent main opposition Congress party and powerful regional rivals across the country.

Exit polls have predicted a win for PM Modi. This election is seen as a referendum on him.

A party or coalition needs at least 272 seats to secure a majority in the 543-member lower house of parliament, or Lok Sabha.

In 2014, the BJP captured 282 seats – the biggest victory by any party in 30 years. The Congress, which won just 44, suffered its worst defeat.

This year, there were 900 million voters eligible to take part in seven rounds of voting, making it the largest election the world had ever seen.

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