May 23 (CNN) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is poised to secure a stunning victory in the country’s general elections, defying expectations of even his own party, early results show.
Though only a handful of seats have been officially called, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which needs 272 seats in the next parliament to form a government, is leading in 349 seats. The main opposition Congress Party, in contrast, is only leading in 50 seats.
Full results are expected to emerge in the next few hours.
The result follows a polarizing election during which Modi and the BJP portrayed the incumbent less as an economic reformer — the main message in the 2014 elections that first brought Modi to national office — and more as a muscular nationalist firmly rooted in the Hindu right wing movement, a turn that made many liberals and minority Indians nervous.