The National People's Party (NPP) was at the second position with 19 seats, according to the results.
The BJP, which contested 47 seats, could win only two.
Polling for 59 Assembly seats, out of a total of 60, was held on February 27. A Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate was killed in an IED blast, which resulted in countermanding of the polls in one seat.
To form government in Meghalaya at the present juncture, a party or coalition requires a minimum of 30 seats.
The Congress had no pre-poll arrangement with any party.
The BJP, which made a serious bid to dethrone the 10-year-old Mukul Sangma government, also had no seat-sharing arrangement with any party.
However, the NPP is an ally of the saffron party at the Centre and in Manipur.
NPP chief Conrad Sangma said, "We are hopeful that we will be able to form the government. People are fed up with the corrupt Congress government and are looking for a change."
All eyes are now on the regional parties and independent candidates.
The United Democratic Party (UDP) has won six seats followed by the People's Democratic Front (PDF) with four and the Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP)with two. The Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement and the Nationalist Congress Party won one seat each.
The UDF and the HSPDP have a pre-polls alliance.
Independent candidates won three seats.
The Congress has rushed two senior leaders Ahmed Patel and Kamal Nath to the state to explore the possibility of forming the government.
The Congress' move comes in the wake of criticism in the past that the party was caught 'napping' in Goa and Manipur, where despite emerging as the single largest party it failed to form governments there.
After the Assembly elections last year threw hung verdicts in Manipur and Goa, the BJP formed governments there with the help of smaller parties and independent candidates.
Patel said there would no repetition of Manipur and Goa.
Nath said, "It is clear that we will form the government. The will of the people of Meghalaya will be reflected in our Congress government."
"We are in touch with everybody. Everybody is in touch with us," he said, adding that "we will stake claim tonight".
Nath alleged the BJP is trying to use "money power to cause as much disturbance as possible".
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who won from the two seats he contested, said the results were not on expected lines and he would keep his cards close to his chest with regard to the Congress forming the government.
For the first time, Sangma contested in two seats.
"We are in touch with like-minded regional parties and independents to form the government," state Congress working president Vincent H Pala told PTI.
Meghalaya is one of the five states where the Congress has been ruling. The other states where the party is in power, are Punjab, Karnataka, Mizoram and Puducherry.
Meghalaya Election Results 2018: What Happened Today
- Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma wins both from Ampati and Songsak constituencies
- Congress wins one, leads in 20 seats in Meghalaya
- I will be supporting any party that works for the welfare of the people of state: SK Sunn, Independent candidate who won from Mawphlang constituency in Meghalaya
- (12:33 pm) In Meghalaya, the vote is basically against the Congress if you see the performance of other parties. Leaders will discuss if there can be possibility of a post poll alliance: Nalin Kohli,BJP Meghalaya incharge
- (11:47 am) In Meghalaya a divided result is a possibility, we will see that a non-Congress Govt is formed there. Himanta Biswa Sarma ji is leaving for Meghalaya shortly: Ram Madhav, BJP
- (11:27 am) Our performance in Meghalaya is historic: Yogi Adityanath
- (11:22 am) Congratulate all the party workers from Nagaland, Tripura and Meghalaya for the historic win: UP CM Yogi Adityanath
- (Fact) BJP plus NPP may pose threat for Congress in Meghalaya
- (10:34 am) As per trends, BJP on third spot. Congress leading in the state
- (10:28 am) The trends in all three states point to a new political direction, it will have an effect on national politics as well. We are confident of forming Govt in all three: Kiren Rijiju, MoS Home
- (9:57 am) Congress leading in 20 seats
- (9:19 am) Congress ahead in 13 seats in Meghalaya
- (9:13 am) Congress leading in 12 seats in the state
- (Fact) NPP is an ally of the NDA at the Centre. It is part of the BJP-led government in Manipur as well. However, in Meghalaya, both NPP and BJP have said they are fighting it out alone.
(9:09 am) Now Congress-NPP leading at 11 seats each
— ANI (@ANI) March 3, 2018
- (8:43 am) National People's Party (NPP) leading in the state
- (8:40 am) Huge crowd has gathered at Shillong Polo ground where people can see counting trends through a projector
- (8:32 am) Mukul Sangma of Congress is leading in Ampati
Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma (File/PTI)
- (8:31 am) First trend in favour of Congress in Meghalaya
- (Fact) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2013 was unable to open its account in Meghalaya
- (8: 00 am) Counting of votes begins
(7:49 am) We will wait for the verdict of the people. People want change in Mawsynram: HM Shangpliang, Congress candidate from Mawsynram constituency
There is adequate security at counting centres and we hope there will be no untoward incident and counting will pass off smoothly: D Marak,SP Shillong #MeghalayaElection2018 pic.twitter.com/QFoajdJi3U
— ANI (@ANI) March 3, 2018
- (7:07 am) Counting of votes to begin in less than an hour
- (6:17 am) Counting of votes to begin at 8 am
Meghalaya election results to come today: Will Rahul Gandhi's 9 rallies pay any dividend?
Meghalaya recorded 84.86 per cent polling in the Assembly election, state Chief Electoral Officer F R Kharkongor said.
In 2013 Assembly elections in the state, the voter turnout was 86.82 percent. This year's polling percentage is expected to go up further after voting in Williamnagar constituency, he said.
15,35,846 voters out of the total 18.09 lakh electorate exercised their franchise in 59 constituencies.
The highest turnout was recorded at Mookaiaw constituency where 93.21 per cent voters exercised their franchise, and the least was registered in North Shillong which witnessed 60.79 per cent polling.
Re-polling at a booth in Meghalaya conducted on Thursday, Chief Electoral Officer Frederick Roy Kharkongor said. The repolling at the Kyndong Tuber polling booth under Raliang assembly constituency was necessitated due to an error in the voting machine.
Early voter medals:
More than 15,000 voters have been rewarded with 'early voter medals' in Meghalaya which went to polls.
Five early voters from each of the 3025 polling stations in 59 of the 60 Assembly constituencies were rewarded with 'early voter medals' by the state Election Commission. Some of these early voters were the enthusiastic first-time voters who were spotted in the queues as early as 6 am.
The population of Meghalaya as of 2016 is estimated to be 3,211,474. State covers an area of approximately 22,430 square kilometers, with a length to breadth ratio of about 3:1. It is a major logistical center for trade with Bangladesh.
(With inputs from agencies)