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India: Alliance members back PM Narendra Modi for third term

June 7, 2024

Leaders of two major regional ally parties have backed a proposal to make Narendra Modi the leader of NDA, the coalition that secured the most seats in India's general election.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) arrives at the BJP party headquarters to deliver a victory speech, in New Delhi, India, 04 June 2024.
Modi has served as India's PM since May 2014Image: RAJAT GUPTA/EPA

Key members of India's National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Friday endorsed Narendra Modi for a third consecutive term as prime minister.

The alliance — led by Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)  — won 293 seats in the country’s mammoth general election, the results of which were announced Tuesday.

Modi has been formally elected leader of the NDA coalition and will likely be sworn in as prime minister on Sunday.

Modi thanks coalition partners

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), a key regional player in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, and the Janata Dal (United), which rules the northern state of Bihar, both supported Modi's name as the leader of the alliance in a meeting in New Delhi on Friday. 

The BJP has not revealed what concessions were made to NDA coalition members, but several larger parties were seeking ministerial posts.

"It is my great fortune that you've elected me as NDA leader with complete consensus," Modi said at a meeting of the bloc's nearly 300 lawmakers held in India's parliament.

"A majority is essential to run the country, that's the essence of democracy. But to run a country, consensus is also essential," he stressed.

"We were neither defeated nor are we defeated ... it was an NDA government in the past, still is and will be," Modi said.

During the meeting, TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu praised Modi for his "vision and zeal," hailing his "perfect" execution of government policies.

Modi was expected to visit President Droupadi Murmu with allied party leaders to seek her formal approval to form the next government later Friday, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Modi's BJP weakened, INDIA opposition revitalized after election

The election — the world's largest democratic exercise — was held in seven phases over the last six weeks.

Modi's mandate will be significantly reduced as the BJP failed to secure an outright majority for the first time in a decade.

The party secured 240 of the 543 seats in Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament. 

India: Modi wins third term despite heavy losses

The BJP lost a third of its rural constituencies in the election, reflecting discontent in the countryside over unemployment and inflation.

The opposition INDIA alliance, led by Rahul Gandhi's centrist Congress party, won over 230 seats, more than exit polls had predicted.

Zoya Hasan, a political analyst at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, told the AFP news agency that coalition allies' demands could end up leading to friction with Modi.

"Chandrababu Naidu and Nitish Kumar [of Janata Dal (United)], both are crafty politicians. So in some ways, Modi might be meeting his match in these two politicians," Hasan said.

"They have friends across the aisle. And surely the opposition will be wooing them."

dvv/wd (AFP, Reuters, AP)