Modi speaks of consensus as NDA elects him as leader ahead of his inauguration | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Modi speaks of consensus as NDA elects him as leader ahead of his inauguration

Jun 07, 2024 04:27 PM IST

Modi was elected the NDA leader against the backdrop of negotiations to form the next government with allies jockeying for crucial Cabinet berths behind the scenes

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday underlined the need for consensus to run the country and said it was their responsibility to pursue it and leave no stone unturned for the country’s development as he was elected as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Parliamentary Party leader ahead of his inauguration for his third term.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu (PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu (PTI)

“We have a majority and we need it to run the government. But to run the country, we need consensus. It is our responsibility to pursue consensus and not leave any stone unturned for the development of the country,” Modi said in his speech at the NDA Parliamentary Party meeting in the Central Hall of the Old Parliament building.

Modi listed his priorities as he is set to become the first Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to get a third term. He emphasised the need to fulfil the aspirations of common people as quickly as possible. “We have to make big decisions and push for fast development. We do not want to waste time. We have to become the third largest economy from the fifth largest,” he said. “In the next 10 years, we will write a new chapter on good governance, development, and quality of life for citizens.”

Modi said the government’s interference should be less when it comes to the middle and upper-middle classes. “There will be no more delay in fulfilling the aspirations of people,” Modi said.

Modi cited the work of NDA allies at the grassroots level and said this has made the grouping organic. “There has to be a strong link between regional and national aspiration,” Modi said after two key allies, N Chandrababu Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar, reminded Modi about the pending development works in their states.

Modi said the NDA reflects the true sense of India’s spirit with its presence in tribal-dominated states and also the northeast. “Our path is sarv panth sambhav [respect for all religions]...in Goa or the Northeast, where our Christian brothers and sisters are in large numbers, we have our governments.”

Modi spoke about NDA’s “grand victory” and called the grouping synonymous with good governance. “Our focus has always been on the welfare of the poor. The country has not only seen the 10 years of good governance but they have lived it. People have felt the purpose of government.”

Modi spoke about the inroads the alliance made in South India and how people embraced the coalition in states such as Karnataka and Telangana even as the Congress won the assembly elections. “In Tamil Nadu, we might have won no seats, but our vote share shows what is going to happen in the coming days,” he said.

Modi said NDA has been the most successful alliance in India’s history. “Never in the history of India, a pre-poll alliance has been as successful as NDA.”

He pointed out that NDA from the days of Atal Bihari Vajpayee has completed three decades. “I can also claim that this is the most successful alliance. This alliance has completed three full terms and now it is entering its fourth term. If a political analysis is done with an open mind, this coalition can be seen as not just a group to form the government or gain power. This is a group committed to nation first. This is an organic alliance.”

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) allies earlier endorsed Modi as the NDA Parliamentary Party leader even as Naidu underlined the need for regional aspirations and national interests to go hand in hand to ensure holistic development of all sections.

Naidu lauded Modi for making India the world’s fifth-largest economy and said they are confident that it will become either number one or two under his leadership. He cited Modi’s vision of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas (inclusive development), and Viksit Bharat (developed India) and added with the collective efforts of the NDA, India can become a zero-poverty nation.

Kumar acknowledged the BJP’s dip in the seats. He said Modi had lost in some places but next time the Opposition will lose everywhere. “I am completely confident. … [the Opposition] has done no work thus far, has not served the nation at all. But you [Modi] have done so much for the nation that they will have no chance in the future. The country will progress very far. Bihar will also be sorted. … Whatever you need, we will continue to support you. Everybody is together. We will move together,” Kumar said.

He said his only request is that Modi’s swearing-in ceremony should take place at the earliest. “It will take place on Sunday. I wanted it today [Friday],” he said.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh earlier proposed Modi’s name as the leader of the NDA Parliamentary Party. His colleagues Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, and top NDA leaders backed the proposal.

Modi was elected the NDA leader against the backdrop of negotiations to form the next government. Allies have been jockeying for crucial Cabinet berths behind the scenes even as NDA leaders remained tight-lipped and projected a united front.

Kumar and Naidu were scheduled to join Modi in meeting President Droupadi Murmu to stake to form the government.

On Thursday, the TDP and JD(U), the second and third largest constituents of the NDA, held meetings and finalised the list of demands. Nadda and Shah separately met Modi after meeting Rajnath Singh to discuss portfolio allocation.

The BJP fell short of the halfway mark of 272 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha for the first time since 2014, making it dependent on allies for the next government formation.

TDP, which has 16 parliamentarians, was believed to have sought five ministerial berths and two more for pre-poll ally Jana Sena, which won two seats. The party was also expected to ask for special status for revenue-starved Andhra Pradesh, which lost IT Hyderabad to Telangana during the state’s bifurcation in 2014.

HT on Friday reported that TDP is keen on getting the Lok Sabha Speaker’s position in addition to ministries such as urban development, information technology, road transport, and highways.

JDU, which has 12 parliamentarians, is likely to demand four ministerial berths and special status for Bihar. NDA won 30 out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. The JD(U) was hoping to get two Cabinet and two ministers of state berths accommodating a mix of castes and communities for maximum political leverage ahead of Bihar assembly elections due next year.

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