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.
Mr Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family dynasty, also congratulated prime minister Narendra Modi and the BJP for their win in official counting on Thursday.
Under Indian law, a candidate can run in more than one constituency, and Mr 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.
Mr Modi and his party declared victory as an ongoing vote-count shows them with a commanding lead in the country’s massive general election.
Election Commission data showed the BJP 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 Mr Modi’s “leadership” for the presumptive win.
The election has been seen as a referendum on Mr 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.
- Press Association