The seven-phase Lok Sabha elections 2019 ended with the conclusion of polling in the final phase on May 19. The fate of over 300 political parties and more than 8,000 candidates have now been sealed until the announcement of the results on May 23. After the Election Commission of India has completed the counting of votes on May 23, the worl’d largest democracy will know which party or alliance will form the next government at the Centre.
Voters in 542 of India’s Lok Sabha constituencies across 29 states and 7 Union Territories exercised their right to franchise through seven phases from April 11 to May 19, 2019. Among the biggest political parties that participated in the elections were the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Indian National Congress (INC), Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), and Biju Janata Dal (BJD). In view of the trend seen in several past elections — of no single party winning a majority of seats on its own — several parties contested the 2019 elections in alliance with others. For instance, the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal fought polls in Uttar Pradesh, which has 80 seats, as part of an alliance popularly called Mahagathbandhan.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) joined hands with Congress and other small regional parties to contest in Tamil Nadu. Likewise, the Janata Dal (United) and BJP contested in alliance in 40-seat Bihar, while the Congress, Rashtriya Janta Dal, and other small parties were the opposing alliance in the state. While the Shiv Sena and BJP contested together in Maharashtra to consolidate their might, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress came together to take on the SS-BJP combine in 48-seat Maharashtra.
One unique feature of elections this time is that the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) has been used along with Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), so the results will take more time than usual to be declared.