NDA kickstarts process of government formation; Nitish, Naidu expected in Delhi | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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NDA kickstarts process of government formation; Nitish, Naidu expected in Delhi

Jun 05, 2024 10:20 AM IST

There’s been unconfirmed talk of the TDP and JD(U) demanding plum portfolios (both finance and home have been mentioned by people familiar with the matter), as also the Speaker’s post

The Capital woke up to a buzzing morning the day after the results of the 18th Lok Sabha election showed no party achieving a majority on its own, although the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) managed one with 293 seats. The chastening but historic (it is the third in a row, a feat no party other than the Congress under Jawaharlal Nehru achieved) win for the BJP surprised not just India’s citizens and analysts, but also the parties themselves. Opinion polls had shown the BJP sweeping to a majority on its own, with one poll, by Axis My India, predicting 400 seats for the NDA. As it turned out the alliance didn’t even cross 300.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief JP Nadda in New Delhi on Tuesday. (ANI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief JP Nadda in New Delhi on Tuesday. (ANI)

The outgoing NDA government has kickstarted the process of formation of the new government. At 11.30am, the Union Cabinet will meet to recommend dissolution of the 17th Lok Sabha. A meeting of the NDA is scheduled soon after. Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar is expected to arrive in Delhi by noon, as is Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena chief Eknath Shinde. N Chandrababu Naidu, the head of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and likely the next CM of Andhra Pradesh is speaking to reporters at 10.30am, but is also expected to reach Delhi in the second half of the day. The three are key to the BJP’s numbers. The TDP won 16 Lok Sabha seats (its partner the Jana Sena won two; so it should be counted as 18); the JD(U), 12; and the Shiv Sena, 7. The 37 seats, added to the BJP’s 240, will take the party safely beyond the majority mark of 272.

There’s been unconfirmed talk of the TDP and JD(U) demanding plum portfolios (both finance and home have been mentioned by people familiar with the matter), as also the Speaker’s post, the last in an attempt to insure themselves against the BJP’s known record at splitting parties (the Shiv Sena and the NCP being recent examples). The BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi isn’t new to alliances, but it is new to having to depend on partners to make up the numbers. It won’t help matters that both Naidu and Kumar see themselves as Modi’s peer, if not senior. The only other significant partners of the BJP, in terms of numbers, are Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (RV), with five MPs, and Jayant Chaudharay’s Rashtriya Lok Dal and HD Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular), with two each. All of them will want something in return for their support, which will make the process of government formation and portfolio allocation interesting.

The opposition INDIA bloc (with 235 seats) for now, has indicated its desire to wait and watch, although a few of its leaders have said that they too could consider informally reaching out to partners of the NDA, especially if negotiations for portfolios drag on or don’t go well. This has been the BJP’s playbook, one of the leaders said, but they have learned from it. The INDIA bloc is also meeting on Wednesday in the evening to discuss whether they should even make a serious play for the numbers, or just sit in opposition.

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