Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing party has taken a decisive lead as votes are counted in the country’s huge general election.
The alliance led by his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is ahead in well over 300 seats and Mr Modi is on course to extend his majority.
Over 600 million people voted in a marathon six-week long process.
Mr Modi was up against the main opposition Congress party and powerful regional rivals across the country.
Counting began at 08:00 local time (02:30 GMT) when voting ended on Sunday.
This election has been viewed as a referendum on Mr Modi, a polarising figure adored by many but also blamed for increasing divisions in India.
Supporters of the Hindu nationalist BJP have begun celebrating what they see as a decisive win. But Mr Modi is only expected to arrive at the party HQ in Delhi later on Thursday.
While Mr Modi’s BJP is ahead in hundreds of seats, the main opposition alliance headed by Rahul Gandhi’s Congress party is ahead in fewer than 100.
A party or coalition needs at least 272 seats to secure a majority in the 543-member lower house of parliament, or Lok Sabha.
In 2014, the BJP won 282 seats – the biggest victory by any party in 30 years – and with its allies, it secured 336 seats in that parliament.
The Congress, which won just 44, suffered its worst defeat in 2014 and with its allies took up just 60 seats in the lower house.
This year, there were 900 million voters eligible to take part in seven rounds of voting, making it the largest election the world had ever seen.
The fate of more than 8,000 candidates and some 670 political parties hangs on the ballot.
Results are being released in phases by the Election Commission but a final result may not be known for several hours, or longer.
It is becoming increasingly clear – the BJP is heading for landslide victory.
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