The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance appeared struggling in its bid to retain power, leading only in 197 seats against a resurgent Congress-led front which was ahead in 221 constituencies out of 507 Lok Sabha seats, latest trends for which were available.
'Others,' which include the Left parties, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party were ahead in 114 constituencies.
The BJP was suffering in its strongholds of Gujarat, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh along with its allies, the Telugu Desam Party and the AIADMK in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu respectively.
The BJP, which had won five seats in the 1999 Lok Sabha election, was heading for a rout in Haryana as per trends for all the 10 seats available till 11 am, with the Congress heading for major gains, leading in eight constituencies and the Haryana Vikas Party and ruling INLD leading in one each.
The BJP's only comfort appeared to be its gains in Punjab, Rajasthan and Karnataka while holding on to its position in Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh and in Orissa along with its ally, the Biju Janata Dal.
The Congress and its allies made impressive gains in AP, TN, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal, Bihar and Jharkand.
The Congress-led ruling United Democratic Front is heading for a rout in Kerala, conceding ground to the Communist Party of India-Marxists led Left Democratic Front in 18 of the 20 Lok Sabha seats.
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was leading in Lucknow.
Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani was leading over his nearest rival Gabaji Thakore of the Congress in Gandhinagar.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi was leading in Rae Barelli.
The Congress' Rahul Gandhi was leading in Amethi, Renuka Choudhary in Khammam and Mani Shanker Aiyer (Myladuthurai).
Union Minister and National Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee was leading in Calcutta South.
Union Ministers George Fernandes (Muzaffarpur) and Nitish Kumar (Barh) were leading in Bihar, while Sahib Singh Verma (Outer Delhi) and Union Minister C P Thakur (Patna) were trailing.
In Maharashtra, prominent among the NDA candidates leading was Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi (Shiv Sena) from Mumbai North Central. Sunil Dutt (Congress) was leading in Mumbai North West.