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Sunday, Sep 15, 2019

Pick majority govt instead of coalition front: Modi to voters

Modi said a clear mandate not only enables the government to take decisions with conviction but also makes it to accountable to the people.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Jan 30, 2019 22:41 IST
Hiral Dave
Hiral Dave
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
PM Modi was addressing a function after laying the foundation for an international terminal at Surat airport.
PM Modi was addressing a function after laying the foundation for an international terminal at Surat airport.(HT File Photo)
         

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday pitched for another stint at the Centre with “full majority”, saying that only such a government could take “tough and strong” decisions while remaining “answerable to the public”. His comments become significant because they come at a time when most polls and pundits indicate that Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)?may not win a majority on its own, with there being a chance that even the larger National Democratic Alliance (NDA)?may fall short of the magic 272 mark needed for a simple majority in Parliament.

Modi was addressing a function after laying the foundation for the international terminal at Surat airport.

The Prime Minister remembered that his 2014 government was formed with a full majority thanks to the “power of each and every vote”.

“For 20 years, there was instability. There was no majority government. There used to be alliance governments. The growth of the country had come to a halt. But now we are progressing. We are taking tough and major decisions with full conviction,” he said.

In 2014, the BJP became the first party in 30 years to win a majority on its own in the Lok Sabha. Modi and the NDA’s major opposition in the summer’s Lok Sabha election is likely to be a Mahagatbandhan, or grand alliance, which is still in the making at a national level, although there is a clear indication of who its opposition will be in some states.

In Bihar, for instance, there is already a grand alliance of nine prominent parties, including the Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party that will take on the BJP. In Uttar Pradesh, which sends the most representatives to the Lok Sabha, the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)?and the Rashtriya Lok Dal have already formed an alliance against the BJP. In 2014, the BJP won 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state on its own.

BJP president Amit Shah said in a speech in Lucknow that his party would win 74 seats this time. If Modi spoke on the advantages of a majority government, Shah stressed on the disadvantages of a coalition government. The Mahagatbandhan is all about corruption, he said, and asked who its prime ministerial candidate is.

One reason for the delay in forging a national level grand alliance has been the number of regional leaders with prime ministerial ambitions. This includes Mayawati of the BSP and Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress.Neither has been too keen to be part of a Congress-led alliance.

Shah, earlier addressing a gathering of party workers in Kanpur, said there will be a new prime minister every day if an alliance of Opposition parties comes to power in the national elections. “They are out to bring a change and do not have a leader,” Shah said.

The Congress, which headed the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government between 2004 and 2014, disagreed with Modi’s claims on a majority.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel asked why does the BJP not exit from the state governments of Maharashtra, Bihar and Goa if the PM thinks coalition governments do not function properly. “By saying that he can’t function in a coalition government, has the Prime Minister confirmed that if the BJP gets less than 272 seats it will sit in Opposition and not try to form a government? Looks like they have learnt a lesson after trying to steal the people’s mandate in Goa, Bihar, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh , Uttarakhand and Karnataka,” Patel, who is also the party’s treasurer, said.

Attacking the Centre on the economic front, he said the period of worst economic growth in the country has been under the BJP’s absolute majority rule.

The period between 2004 and 2008 saw significant economic expansion, although a recent revision of GDP data under 2011-12 series shows that this was lower than growth under the current government.

First Published: Jan 30, 2019 14:57 IST