Welcome to our live coverage of the last lap of #Elections2019: counting day. It’s been a long month and a half since Phase 1 of polling kicked off on April 11. The Election Commission says results are expected only by late evening.
The Election Commission has announced that the BJP has won five seats, while the Congress has secured one so far.
Zee News has one-upped CNN-News18‘s aeroplanes by having Narendra Modi bob around their screen in a giant hot-air balloon.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who’s set to comfortably win in Thiruvananthapuram, says it feels “bittersweet”.
PM Narendra Modi took to Twitter, saying “India wins yet again”.
A Republic reporter at Nitin Gadkari’s residence tells us how everyone is watching Republic Bharat. Kyunki thoda self-promotion bhi zaroori hai.
Actor Prakash Raj, contesting in the elections for the first time as an independent candidate in Bengaluru Central, conceded defeat on Twitter, calling it a “solid slap” on his face.
Mehbooba Mufti says it’s time for the Congress to “get an Amit Shah”.
Times Now has a complicated “spider’s web” graph with no less than three analysts pointing out different things. Lines vanish and appear to make it “very intuitive for the viewers”.
Mamata Banerjee congratulated winners on Twitter, but cryptically added “all losers are not losers”.
CNN-News18 has kicked it up a notch and now the animations of Modi and Rahul Gandhi have them swooping in on small aeroplanes.
On Zee News, Baba Ramdev advises the Opposition to practice yoga in order to get their “Rajyog” fixed.
“Rasagullas are the favourite sweet of West Bengal, but the colour of rasagullas has changed today,” says NDTV‘s reporter outside the BJP party office in Kolkata. Sreenivasan Jain remarks, “Orange rasagullas in West Bengal for the first time. ”
On Zee News, Sudhir Chaudhary calls this picture a “futile fraud” against PM Modi.
On Zee News, Vivek Oberoi invites Rahul Gandhi to watch his biopic on Modi, saying Gandhi won’t have any work after the elections.
Sri Lanka’s prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe congratulates Narendra Modi “on a magnificent victory”.
CNN-News18 has actor Vivek Oberoi on its panel who, amidst reciting a “parivaar-desh” dialogue, reminds the Opposition to stop hating Modi and start loving Bharat.
Omar Abdullah congratulates the BJP on Twitter for its “stellar performance”, saying “credit where credit is due”.
Pradeep Gupta, MD of Axis MyIndia, chokes up as trends show that the NDA’s seats will be falling within his exit poll’s 339-365 bracket. “These are tears of joy, tears of accomplishment,” explains anchor Rahul Kanwal as the camera superzooms into Gupta’s face. Rajdeep tells him, “Now Pradeep, don’t cry just because you have to give me a treat in a five-star hotel.”
On ABP News, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia calls PM Modi a “unifier-in-chief” and says this election’s results are a lesson to the Opposition.
Home minister Rajnath Singh says he’s congratulated Modi and Shah for the NDA’s “stupendous victory”.
On CNN-News18, after being told about the first official win from Bhiliwara, the anchor says, “It is the ‘Rani, teri khair nahi, Modi, tujshe bair nahi’ election.”
On India Today, Rahul Kanwal introduces BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya: “If you’re against the BJP, he’ll send his trolls at you. If you’re not then he’s not that bad.” Malviya simply smiles.
India Today reports that the mood is exuberant among YSR Congress supporters. They’ve already produced a plaque that reads “Jagan Mohan Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh”.
CNN-News18 is using holographic trucks to bring in the latest updates.
“Jiya ho Bharat ka laala…,” sings Manoj Tiwari on India TV. “Gujarat ka laala ab Bharat ka laala hai,” he says.
India TV flashes visuals of Modi’s mother. Anchor Rajat Sharma says it was shameful how the Congress had brought the PM’s family into the fight. Sharma says he is stunned at Rahul Gandhi’s confidence. “Desh ki janta ne bada jawaab diya hai, Rahul Gandhi ko seekhna padega.”
A BJP spokesperson on Times Now puts up a spirited defence of Modi and BJP against accusations of using money power and media: “Didn’t Congress have money? Couldn’t they get media?”. Ok then.
Even as most channels have called the elections, Hindustan Times‘s Sukumar Ranganathan says 18 per cent of counting has been completed as of 11 am.
External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has congratulated Narendra Modi on Twitter.
TV anchors seem to love bringing cricket into politics. Navika Kumar says Modi and Amit Shah have been confident and pledged to a plan. “If the Indian team in the World Cup plays to a plan, the World Cup can’t be far away.”
On Zee News, Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant says, “Garvati Mahilaon ko doctor ne salaah di thi ki aap sab kuch suniye lekin Rahul Gandhi ka bhashan na suniye varna baccha manbuddhi paida hoga (Pregnant women were told to not listen to Rahul Gandhi’s speech otherwise their children would be born dimwitted).” Sudhir Chaudhary and the other panelists laugh in response.
On Zee, Modi’s giant figure emerges from the ground as panelists start talking about women empowerment under the BJP government.
In all the excitement, Republic just referred to Sunny Deol as Sunny Leone.
On NDTV, Prannoy Roy remarks, “Huuuge margin for BJP in Karnataka.” Sreenivasan Jain points out that the Karnataka state government is under threat if the lead holds.
Zee News has its “Ghadi ki Suiyan” tilting towards saffron as the panelists predict the BJP’s victory.
Newslaundry‘s Gaurav Sarkar is outside the BJP headquarters in Delhi, where crowds of supporters are swelling.
NDTV has a virtual Lok Sabha in front of the panelists. An intense discussion is ongoing about the politicisation of the Army.
Bhupendra Chaubey observes that the EC shows 277 (leading) for BJP now, whereas CNN-News18‘s poll shows 288. He says, “That tells you that we are faster. The EC is getting the same data, but we are faster than that.”
It’s 10.15 am and Times Now has called it. “Rahul Sinks, Priyanka Flops”, “Mega Pro-Incumbency Wave”, “Narendra Modi back as PM” flashes on the screen.
Joining the early celebrations is India TV, which also has an animation of Modi dancing while Rajat Sharma declares him the winner.
On the UPA’s increasing numbers, the Aaj Tak anchor says, “Chalang toh badi hai magar chalang aisi nahi ki vo Modi ka muqabala kar sakein (It’s a bigger jump but not big enough to compete with Modi).”
Now Arnab has declared that this is a historic moment and NDA will get 330-340 seats. “It’s not even 10 am and NDA has crossed 300!”
Having declared Modi the winner already, Bhupendra Chaubey points out how they must talk about two key factors this election season. “Factor number 1 is Narendra Modi, and factor number 2 is also Narendra Modi.”
On Aaj Tak, an animation of Modi dances on the screen as a panelist gives credit to the BJP’s development based politics and dismissal of caste and gender politics.
Arnab Goswami now predicts that NDA will cross 320 seats … going by early trends. He turns to an Opposition panelist and shouts, “Koi shak? Koi shak? EVM pe shak? (Any doubt? Any doubt on EVM?)”
As CNN-News18’s IPSOS poll predicts 272 for the BJP, Bhupendra Chaubey shouts at the top of his voice, “Big verdict, BJP on its own is touching 272. That’s the big verdict!”
On Republic, Kanchan Gupta points out that Arnab’s overall tally is not keeping pace with what is actually happening. Arnab dismisses him and moves on to West Bengal’s BJP lead. One panelist giving non-stop updates screams, “BREAKING NEWS, Laloo’s daughter is losing!”
ABP News has an anchor wandering around in the studio while a timely bell rings to bring viewers important updates.
Arnab declares that Amit Shah and BJP have eradicated caste politics in Uttar Pradesh and the NDA is going to form government … going by early trends. Random panelists screams, “Democracy zindabad!”
Counting started an hour and a half ago, and Bhupendra Chaubey’s asking whether he needs to do a countdown now as things have become clear.
In a first, Newslaundry‘s Meghnad S notices that the ECI website is showing more leads that almost all news channels right now.
Channels are pulling out all stops to use graphics to liven up their coverage. Zee News has an animation of Narendra Modi creeping up behind Rahul Gandhi to scare him.
On India Today, Rahul Kanwal walks us over to the Election Intelligence Dashboard, saying this is “the most powerful election supercomputer ever built”.
Rahul Kanwal says the Sensex is up and the markets are rejoicing. Rajdeep Sardesai interjects: “I don’t watch Game of Thrones or put money in the market, so this doesn’t make sense to me.”
Navika Kumar and Rahul Shivshankar gather around a godly hologram of Narendra Modi. “Modi is towering right now,” says Rahul.
Meanwhile, the ECI website shows 235 leads!
Vivek Agnihotri is on Zee News. He says, “60, 70, 80 per cent of women and housewives say they’re in favour of Modi. At times, husbands are anti-Modi, but wives are pro-Modi and there are even fights on this.”
Times Now has some sort of composite image of Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi that’s formed as more seat leads are declared. Rahul Shivshankar excitedly says, “You can see see Narendra Modi’s glasses now!” while Navika Kumar exclaims, “I can see his eyes!”
The Election Commission’s website at this point shows the BJP leading in 36 seats and the Congress leading in 11.
But excitement’s already running high in news studios. On Times Now, multiple people are pointing at the same giant screen to point out leads.