India elections 2019: All the latest updates

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is expected to repeat its 2014 performance, when it won an absolute majority in the 545-member Lok Sabha (House of the People), the Indian parliament’s lower house.

Counting of votes has begun in India after its marathon seven-phase general elections concluded on May 19, with most exit polls predicting a clear victory for incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The party or coalition with a simple majority (272 seats) is invited to form the government. The MPs from the winning party or coalition elect their leader, who then becomes the country’s prime minister.

About 67 percent of more than 900 million eligible voters cast their ballots in the staggered elections that the ruling party fought on issues of national security and a hardline Hindu agenda.

The opposition parties raised issues such as a massive job crisis and farming distress, with the Congress party levelling allegations of corruption over the purchase of French Rafale fighter jets by the government.

Counting is also being held for four state assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim.

Here are the latest updates:

Postal ballots first to be counted

The “postal ballots” are counted first, followed by votes from the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

Postal ballots are cast by security personnel serving in the armed and paramilitary forces, and diplomats serving outside India.

A policeman walks past a hoarding outside a vote counting centre in New Delhi

A policeman walks past a hoarding outside a vote counting centre in New Delhi [Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters]

Counting of 600 million votes begins

India is counting about 600 million votes in its general election with a coalition led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party predicted to win a clear majority.

The vote count started at 0800 local time (0230 GMT), and results are likely to be clear later in the day. If there is a clear trend, this should be evident by around midday (0630 GMT).

Exit polls pointed to a victory for Modi but such projections have been wrong in the past.

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INTERACTIVE: Indian elections 2019 - Government April 29

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