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13 Muharram 1446  

Modi’s alliance unanimously elects him to lead as PM for third term

It is the first time in a decade that BJP has needed the support of regional parties to form the govt
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he arrives at Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters in New Delhi, India, June 4. Reuters
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he arrives at Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters in New Delhi, India, June 4. Reuters

India’s Narendra Modi was formally elected on Friday by lawmakers of his National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to be prime minister for a historic third consecutive term, as the world’s most populous nation returns to government by coalition.

Modi will next meet President Droupadi Murmu later in the day and present his claim to form a new government, with a spokesperson for one of his allies saying his swearing-in was set for Sunday evening.

It is the first time in a decade that Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has needed the support of regional parties to form the government.

The party, which had a handsome majority in the previous two terms, secured only 240 seats in the lower house of parliament, far short of the 272 needed to govern on its own.

The NDA won 293 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, and the INDIA alliance, led by Rahul Gandhi’s centrist Congress party won more than 230 to exceed forecasts.

Lawmakers from the BJP and its allies, including the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), and the Janata Dal (United) voted unanimously for Modi to become the leader at the alliance’s first meeting after the June 4 vote count and declaration of results.

Modi’s name was proposed by outgoing Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and seconded and backed by other outgoing ministers and leaders of parties in the alliance.

Newly elected lawmakers and senior alliance leaders thumped tables and applauded to back his candidacy, with some standing and chanting “Modi, Modi!” in the central hall of the old parliament building.

Modi thanked allied lawmakers for unanimously agreeing to back his third term in office.

“It is my great fortune that you’ve elected me as NDA leader with complete consensus,” Modi told a meeting of the bloc’s nearly 300 lawmakers held in parliament.

“A majority is essential to run the country, that’s the essence of democracy. But to run a country, consensus is also essential.”

The meeting was a formality after the leaders of each party guaranteed their support earlier in the week. But it was also an opportunity to demonstrate the concord between Modi and his new partners in government.

“Modi has a vision and a zeal, and his execution is perfect, and he is executing all his policies with a true spirit,” said Chandrababu Naidu, the leader of the premier’s largest coalition party ally.

“Today India has the right leader for the right time — that is, Narendra Modi.”

Other party leaders adorned Modi with a garland of purple flowers while Nitish Kumar, another key supporter, bent to touch the 73-year-old’s feet in a traditional gesture of respect.

The swearing-in ceremony for the prime minister is scheduled for Sunday evening, a TDP spokesperson told Reuters.

Indian media said both BJP allies are eyeing the post of the speaker in the lower house, while the party itself is expected to retain four key ministries — foreign affairs, defence, home and finance.

The coalition negotiations are a throwback to an era before 2014, when Modi swept to power with an outright majority for his BJP, as alliance partners haggled for positions and benefits.

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india

Narendra Modi

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Indian Elections