An election official checks electronic voting machines as counting votes of India's massive general elections begins in New Delhi, India, Thursday, May 23, 2019. The count is expected to conclude by the evening, with strong trends visible by midday. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

The Latest: Indian opposition chief concedes parliament seat

May 23, 2019 - 9:06 am

NEW DELHI (AP) — The Latest on India's general elections results (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

Indian National Congress president Rahul Gandhi has conceded his parliamentary seat to his rival from the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has claimed a decisive victory in India's general election.

Election Commission results showed BJP textiles minister Smriti Irani was ahead by 38,000 votes in Amethi, a longtime Gandhi family bastion in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family dynasty, also congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP for their win in official counting Thursday.

Under Indian law, a candidate can run in more than one constituency, and Gandhi was leading by more than 400,000 votes for a seat in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Vote counting of the estimated 600 million ballots cast in the world's largest democratic exercise began early Thursday and was expected to spill over into Friday.

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3:30 p.m.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party have declared victory as an ongoing vote-count shows them with a commanding lead in the country's massive general election.

Election Commission data show the Bharatiya Janata Party leading in contests for 299 out of 542 seats in Parliament, with the main opposition Congress party ahead in 50 contests.

BJP President Amit Shah credited Modi's "leadership" for the presumptive win.

The election has been seen as a referendum on Modi, whose economic reforms have had mixed results but whose popularity as a social underdog in India's highly stratified society has endured.

Final results are expected by Thursday evening at the earliest.

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2:30 p.m.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party have a commanding lead in early vote counting from the country's six-week general election.

Election Commission data show the Bharatiya Janata Party leading in contests for 300 out of 542 seats in Parliament, with the Congress party ahead in 50 contests.

India's marathon elections concluded on Sunday. The count that started Thursday was expected to conclude by the evening.

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10:20 a.m.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist party are building on their lead in the latest results from India's general elections.

Election Commission data show the Bharatiya Janata Party is leading in contests for 269 out of 542 seats, with its main rival, the Indian National Congress, ahead in 56 contests.

India's marathon elections staggered over six weeks concluded on Sunday. The count that started Thursday was expected to conclude by the evening.

Crowds gathered in New Delhi to watch the results come on big LED screens at Connaught Place.

Mechanical engineer Mohammad Shamshad said it was too early to call it for BJP, adding "it's like a cricket match, anyone can win."

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9 a.m.

Early results are showing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist party in the lead in India's general elections.

Election Commission data showed the Bharatiya Janata Party leading in contests for 229 seats, with its main rival, the Indian National Congress, ahead in 56 contests.

The count that started Thursday was expected to conclude by the evening. In the world's largest democratic exercise, some 900 million people were registered to cast ballots for 542 seats in India's lower house of Parliament in seven phases of voting staggered over six weeks.

A party or coalition needs a simple majority, or 272 seats, to govern.

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7:30 a.m.

Indian election officials have begun counting votes that were cast in the country's mammoth general elections.

The count began Thursday morning and was expected to conclude by the evening. Voters cast ballots on some 40 million electronic voting machines.

Half a dozen exit polls showed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party remaining in power for another five years.

In the world's largest democratic exercise, some 900 million people were registered to cast ballots for 542 seats in India's lower house of Parliament in seven phases of polling staggered over six weeks.

The election has been seen as a referendum on Modi, whose economic reforms broadly haven't succeeded but whose popularity as a social underdog in India's highly stratified society has endured.

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