Rajnath Singh proposes Modi’s name as NDA leader, sets stage for his third term | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Rajnath Singh proposes Modi’s name as NDA leader, sets stage for his third term

Jun 07, 2024 01:47 PM IST

The NDA meeting was held against the backdrop of negotiations to form the next government with allies jockeying for crucial Cabinet berths behind the scenes

Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Friday proposed Narendra Modi’s name as the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Parliamentary Party, setting the stage for his third term as the Prime Minister. His colleagues Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, and top NDA leaders backed the proposal.

Narendra Modi with TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. (PTI)
Narendra Modi with TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. (PTI)

Singh credited Modi for expanding the NDA and said the grouping is not a compulsion but a commitment for the BJP. “I believe that Narendra Modi’s name is the most suitable...We are fortunate that we are going to get a sensitive Prime Minister...,” said Singh in his address at the NDA meeting at the central hall of the old Parliament House.

Shah echoed Singh and said there is widespread support for Modi. “This proposal is not only the desire of the people sitting here. This is the proposal of 1.4 billion people in the country...This is the voice of the country that Modi lead the country for the next five years.”

BJP chief JP Nadda lauded Modi’s dedication to national service. “[He has] spent every moment in the service of the nation. That is the reason that India is creating history today and NDA is forming a government for the third consecutive time with a majority.”

Gadkari said he had the good fortune of working under Modi’s leadership for the last 10. “He [Modi] has worked with dedication to ensure that our country is happy, prosperous, become a global superpower and that there is progress and development in all aspects...”

The NDA meeting was held 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.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Chandrababu Naidu, who were among those present at the NDA meeting, were scheduled to join Modi in meeting President Droupadi Murmu to present her with the list of parliamentarians supporting him.

On Thursday, the TDP and Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) or 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 likely to seek 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. In 2019, JD(U) turned down a token representation of one berth in the Union Cabinet.

The JD(U) was seeking portfolios such as railways, the country’s biggest recruiter, and rural development, that will help it consolidate its position in Bihar ahead of the 2025 state polls.

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