New Delhi:

Raebareli or Wayanad? Rahul Gandhi faces the classic Hamletian dilemma. Having won both seats, he now has to choose between Uttar Pradesh and Kerala. 

The answer, he says, will have to be taken. But the Congress leader was not ready to commit to it just yet. 

“I can’t stay in two seats but I haven’t decided which one I will give up,” said Mr Gandhi, 53, with a copy of a Constitution placed before the mic.

In 2019, Mr Gandhi had lost to BJP’s Smriti Irani in Amethi. The leader, who undertook Bharat Jodo yatras, returned to UP in 2024. He chose to fight from Raebareli, a seat represented by his mother, Sonia Gandhi, five times.  

The BJP, which was aiming for 370 seats and set the NDA a target of 400-plus, appears to be running way behind, let down by Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 lawmakers to the Lok Sabha, the most by any state.

Jahan tak hum mulk bhar ke nateejo ki baat kare toh dil khush hua (If we talk about the national result, the heart is happy),” said Omar Abdullah, who lost his own seat, but praised the Opposition leaders for a good show at the hustings. 

Led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP won or was ahead in 240 seats to emerge as the single largest party in the 543-member Lok Sabha.

BJP’s key allies TDP and JD(U) were leading or winning 16 and 12 seats in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, respectively. With the support of its other allies, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was on course to reach the 272-majority mark. 

“The way Akhilesh Yadav fought in UP, Mamata Didi in Bengal, Stalin sahab in Tamil Nadu, Sharad Pawar sahab and Uddhav Thackeray in Maharashtra, and the way Congress performed, led by Rahul Gandhi, Kharge Sahab and Priyanka ji, their number is touching 100. No one could have imagined after the exit polls that the opposition would perform so well,” Mr Abdullah, a former minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, told reporters.