NEW DELHI: Congress candidates on Tuesday took significant leads in BJP-ruled Rajasthan and was inching ahead of the BJP in both Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in Assembly elections held in five states.
Early trends from counting centres also showed that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) appeared set to retain power in Telangana while the ruling Congress was lagging behind the Mizo National Front (MNF) in Mizoram in state elections that were widely dubbed a "semi-final" ahead of the Lok Sabha battle next year.
In line with exit polls, the Congress appeared to be returning to power after a five-year gap in Rajasthan, the country's largest state which has not re-elected a ruling party in recent times.
Congress candidates were ahead in 87 of the 199 constituencies, gaining around 60 seats, while the BJP was leading in 70 seats but heavily losing in over 50 constituencies.
And in a reversal of trends, the Congress overtook the BJP in both Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Both states the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has ruled for 15 years.
Congress nominees were ahead of others in 75 seats and the BJP in 60 in the battle for the 230-member Assembly. While the Congress made major gains across the state, the BJP was losing many seats it has held for long.
In Chhattisgarh, the Congress was ahead in 44 of the 90 seats, giving a fright to the BJP, whose Chief Minister Raman Singh was at one time trailing in the vote count from Rajnandgaon before he overtook his rivals later.
BJP candidates were ahead in 25 seats in Chhattisgarh.
In Mizoram, the ruling Congress was trailing to the MNF, whose candidates were ahead in 16 of the 40 seats. The Congress was ahead in five seats, losing as many as 10 seats.
The TRS was poised to retain power in Telangana with a huge majority, with its candidates leading in 80 of the 119 seats, leaving the Congress-led alliance way behind.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the media that he was confident of a Congress victory in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and said he had "always been a little more pessimistic" about Telangana.