Tuesday, 16 Jul, 2024
Tuesday, 16 Jul, 2024
The Daily Post

Modi elected NDA alliance leader

DP International Desk

Modi elected NDA alliance leader

-Modi's oath likely to be held tomorrow

-Congress may hit 100 seats as rebels to return


Narendra Modi yesterday was formally elected as the leader of the India's National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition, which won the most number of seats in the country's national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own, according ABC News.

The 73-year-old leader, who will be sworn in as prime minister tomorrow for a rare third term, will now form a coalition government. Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP has governed India as part of the NDA coalition over the past decade, but this is the first time under his leadership that the party has needed support from its regional allies to form a government.

“This alliance of ours reflects India's spirit in its true sense,” Modi said after the BJP and coalition members backed him as their prime ministerial candidate. “We were neither defeated nor are we defeated ... it was an NDA government in the past, still is and will be,” he added.

Full results from India’s six week-long election, which began in mid-April, were released last Wednesday. The BJP won 240 seats, well below the 272 mark needed for a majority in a stunning upset. Together, the parties in the NDA coalition bagged 293 seats in the 543-member lower house of parliament. Meanwhile Modi's political challenger, the INDIA alliance led by the Congress party, put up a stronger-than-expected fight, defying predictions of decline by doubling its strength from the last election to win a total of 232 seats.

Before Modi was formally elected as the NDA leader, local media reported that the two key regional allies which can make or break his coalition government — the Telugu Desam Party in southern Andhra Pradesh state and Janata Dal (United) in eastern Bihar state — were eyeing posts in important ministries, some of which the BJP have held so far.

On yesterday, the newly emboldened opposition ramped up pressure on Modi and the BJP. In a press conference, the Congress party's main campaigner Rahul Gandhi demanded a parliamentary investigation into what he called the “biggest stock market scam”, alleging that Modi and other top BJP ministers misled retail investors who ended up losing money.

India's two main benchmark stock indexes hit new highs on Monday after exit polls predicted a BJP sweep, but dropped sharply on Tuesday to close down more than 5% as early vote figures trickled in. In television interviews last month, Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah said the markets would surge when results were declared on June 4. The BJP denied Gandhi's accusations of a ploy between the party and exit pollsters, and accused the Congress leader of trying to discourage investors.

At the same time, The Congress, which vastly improved its performance but stopped short of a century in Lok Sabha results announced on last Tuesday, has added one more MP to its tally. Vishal Patil, a Congress rebel who won as an independent candidate from Maharashtra, extended support to the party on Thursday. The Congress won 99 seats in the election. "With Vishal Patil's support, the Congress's strength will go up to 100 in Lok Sabha," Congress MLA Vishwajit Kadam, who had fought for him within the party, said.

The grandson of former Maharashtra chief minister Vasantdada Patil, Vishal Patil won the Lok Sabha election from the Sangli seat, defeating the BJP's Sanjaykaka Patil. He had rebelled and contested as an independent after the Sangli parliamentary seat was assigned to the Shiv Sena-UBT in the seat-sharing arrangement among the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) partners.

In a post on X, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said, "Welcoming the support of elected MP from Sangli, Shri Vishal Patil (@patilvishalvp) to the Congress party". The Uddhav Thackeray Sena faction's move to announce its own candidate even before a seat pact had caused some friction in the Maharashtra opposition alliance. The Congress had repeatedly appealed to the Sena to reconsider its decision. Vishal Patil and Vishwajit Kadam met Mr Kharge and Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi yesterday, and the independent MP handed over his letter of support to the party.

If the Lok Sabha secretariat gives its approval, Vishal Patil can be called an associate MP of the Congress and the party's strength in Lok Sabha will become 100, said leaders. Pappu Yadav, another leader who won as an independent candidate from Bihar's Purnea, is also expected to support the Congress. He had merged his own party with the Congress before the elections. When the Purnea seat went to the RJD's share in the Bihar opposition seat pact, Pappu Yadav contested as an independent candidate.