In what looks like a major jolt to prime minister Narendra Modi's government, the party seemed to be losing in three major states -- Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
As predicted by the exit polls, Congress was leading in Rajasthan, a state that has seen alternate ruling by the two parties for the past few years. Chhattisgarh too followed the trend of the exit polls with Congress having an edge over BJP, the current ruling party. While, Madhya Pradesh came as a surprise, going against the exit polls which predicted that the BJP would have an edge over Congress in the state.
Around 12 pm, Congress was leading in 102 seats in Rajasthan, the largest state of India by geographical area, while BJP struggled with 77 seats. In Chhattisgarh, Congress was leading in 65 seats as compared to just 19 of BJP and in Madhya Pradesh, the two parties were having a neck-and-neck battle with Congress leading in 111 seats and BJP in 110.
Here's what the political leaders said as they reacted to the poll trends:
"People voted against BJP. This is people's verdict, victory of democracy over injustice," said West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
People voted against BJP. This is the people’s verdict and victory of the people of this country 1/3— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) December 11, 2018
"This is real indication of final match in 2019. People are always man of the match' in democracy," she added.
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, while speaking to CNBC-TV18 said, "game has changed. The biggest impact player in this series has been Rahul Gandhi." He added that the party had faith in Gandhi. "Anyone can be Pilot when the sea is calm but Rahul displayed great character in adversity," he added.
This is the foundation for 2019, said Sidhu.
Senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said that he was confident that his party will form the government in Rajasthan and a decision on the chief minister's post will be taken by Rahul Gandhi. He also credited Gandhi for the party's good performance in all the five states, including Rajasthan.
"We are confident that the Congress will get a clear majority and will for its government in Rajasthan," Gehlot said.
While Sachin Pilot said, "People have blessed us. We should get a comfortable majority in Rajasthan." "What could be a better gift to him (Rahul Gandhi) than victory in these states," he added.
"Trends reflect people's desire for change," said senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia.
In a tweet, Akhilesh Yadav said, "Jab ek aur ek milkar bante hai gyaarah, tab badey bado ki satta ho jaati hai nau do gyaarah (when one and one come together, it makes 11, and the power of the bigwigs eventually fade away)."
However, Home Minister Rajnath Singh rejected the notion that the results would be a reflection of the Modi government and said that the polls were fought on the basis of the performance of state governments.
(With inputs from PTI)
First Published: IST