The party is set to win around 280 seats, comfortably above the half-way mark of 272 in the 545-member Lok Sabha, whose 543 members are elected and two are nominated.

This is in sharp contrast to the mere two seats the won in the 1984  general elections, its first after coming out of the shadow of the Janata  Party, into which the erstwhile Jana Sangh had merged to jointly fight the  1977 general elections after the emergency was lifted.

The Congress, in fact, had swept the 1984 polls, riding a sympathy wave  following the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi and led  by her son Rajiv Gandhi, for a record tally of 414 seats.

This time around, it has been the Congress' worst performance in the 16 general elections held so far, with the party likely to notch up only   about 50 seats.

(Agencies)

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