Consensus key to run govt, Modi says at NDA meet. Naidu, Nitish bat for ‘regional aspirations’


New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it is important to have consensus to run the government after he was elected as leader of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) during a meeting Friday, setting the stage for his third term.

Modi called the NDA an “organic” alliance which has not come together for power but works on the principle of “nation first”. He defined the NDA as “New India, Developed India, Aspirational India”.

“Put the NDA on one side and people’s dreams on the other side, then I would say — New India, Developed India, Aspirational India. We have a roadmap to accomplish all this, look at the Congress-led UPA. It has changed its name to hide its identity, but the country has not forgotten its scams,” he said. 

As NDA leaders gathered in Parliament to officially declare Modi leader of the alliance, Janta Dal United chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar pledged his unwavering support. He said he and his party would “always be with the PM”, as he bowed down to touch Modi’s feet.

“This time some have won here and there, next time all will lose. We are fully confident about it,” Nitish said as he took on the opposition INDIA bloc and accused them of failing to contribute anything meaningful to the country.

While Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu said Modi is the “right leader at the right time for India”, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde also extended his support and said the BJP and Shiv Sena are “Fevikol ka jod”, an alliance that can never be broken.

At the meeting, senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh proposed Modi’s name as leader of the NDA Parliamentary Party, which was seconded by his party colleagues Amit Shah and Nitin Gakdari as well as senior NDA leaders.

The first glimmer of the push and pull of coalition politics was seen when Naidu, while endorsing Modi’s election as leader of the NDA, spoke about balancing national interest with regional aspirations, referring to Andhra Pradesh’s ‘special status’ demand. Similarly, Nitish Kumar in his speech raised the point of Bihar’s needs. Responding to the two kingmaker alliance partners, Modi assured that national aspirations cannot be fulfilled by ignoring regional aspirations.

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‘NDA an organic alliance’

Modi in his speech stressed that while a majority is needed to form the government, consensus is essential to run the nation. He said the NDA is not a grouping of parties that have come together for power, but an organic alliance committed to the principle of ‘nation first’.

“Sarkar chalaane ke liye bahumat aavashyak hai. Loktantra ka wahi ek siddhant hai. Lekin desh chalane ke liye sarmat bahut zaroori hota hai. (Majority is important to run a government, which is also the principle for democracy, but unanimity is of utmost importance to govern a country),” he said.

He added: “I assure the people of the country that the majority they gave us to run the government, it will be our effort that we will strive towards consensus and leave no stone unturned towards taking the country forward…NDA has completed around three decades, it is no ordinary thing…I can say that this is the most successful alliance.”

Modi called the NDA the most successful alliance committed to the principle of ‘Sarva dharma sambhava’ (all religions are equal). “Today I can say that the NDA is an organic alliance in the political system of India and great leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Parkash Singh Badal, Balasaheb Thackeray…sown the seed. Today the people of India have nurtured their trust in NDA and turned that seed into a fruitful one. We all have the legacy of such great leaders and we are proud of it.”

He added: “Very few people discuss this, perhaps it doesn’t suit them, but look at the strength of the great democracy of India. Today, people have allowed the NDA to form a government and serve in 22 states.”

The PM went on to say that there are 10 states in the country where the number of “our tribal brothers is decisively high” and the NDA is serving in seven of these 10 states. “Whether it is Goa or the Northeast, where the number of Christians is decisively high, NDA has got the opportunity to serve in those states as well,” he added.

“Mutual trust is at the core of this alliance. The NDA government in the next 10 years will focus on good governance, development, and minimum interference in the lives of common citizens,” said Modi.

He also slammed the Opposition for “continuously abusing EVMs” and questioning the integrity of the Election Commission during the course of the elections.

“When results were coming out, I was busy with work…I asked someone, numbers are fine, tell me EVM zinda hai ki mar gaya (is the EVM alive or dead). These people (Opposition) had decided to ensure that people stop believing in democracy and the democratic process of India. They continuously abused EVM. I thought they would take out the funeral procession of the EVM. But by the evening of 4th June…EVM ne unko chup kar diya (the EVM silenced them),” Modi said.

He added: “This is the strength of India’s democracy, its fairness…I hope I won’t get to hear about EVM for 5 years. But when we go into 2029, perhaps they will again start talking about EVMs…The country will never forgive them.”

At the parliamentary party meeting, Modi stressed that all leaders of all the parties are equal in Parliament for him. “When we talk about Sabka Prayas, for us everyone becomes equal whether they are from our party or not. This is the reason the NDA alliance has been strong and moved ahead in the last 30 years…”

Calling the Lok Sabha win the NDA’s ‘Mahavijay’, the PM called the alliance one of the strongest in the history of alliances.

“We were neither defeated nor have we been defeated this time. But our behaviour after 4 June shows our identity, that we know how to digest victory. Our values are such that we do not develop a frenzy in the lap of victory, nor do we mock the defeated. You can ask any child whose government was in power before the Lok Sabha elections, he will say NDA. Then ask him who formed the government after 2024, and he will say NDA…Even after 10 years, Congress could not touch the figure of 100 seats…,” Modi said, coming down heavily on the Congress.

Again praising the alliance, he said: “Friends, the pre-poll alliance has never been as successful in the history of any alliance in Indian politics as the NDA has been. This is the victory of the alliance. We have secured a majority. I have said this many times, though the words may be different, but the feeling is that a majority is required to run the government but unanimity is necessary to run the country.”

‘Be cautious of those promising cabinet berths’

Modi also asked MPs to be cautious of those promising them cabinet berths.

“People would approach you and say they can get you a cabinet berth. Now the technology is such that a list with my signatures can come out…I urge all MPs to not fall prey to these conspiracies. Those who know me know (that I don’t function like this). INDI alliance has gathered expertise in fake news in these elections, they have a double PhD. They can use this. Stay away from rumours. Breaking news ke aadhar par desh chalega nahi ye maan ke chaliye The country won’t run on the basis of breaking news,” he said.

Seeking to underline the longevity and solidity of the NDA, PM also stressed on cooperative federalism and assured his support to the states.

While congratulating the opposition MPs, Modi said that the one thing that was missing in the last term was “quality of debates”.

“In the last 10 years I was missing something, which is participation in debates, quality of debates. I hope that in the new sansad I will not miss that,’ he said, while asserting that the 2024 verdict has reinforced one thing again and again, that today the country has faith only in the NDA.

The prime minister also said that the Opposition was looking to push the country into the throes of violence after the results. “These are the people who used to insult the PM of their own party, used to tear down his decisions. If a foreign guest came, there would be no chair. Friends, when voting was completed on the 1st, the results came on the 4th. During this time, an attempt was made to throw the country into the fire of violence. Gathering here, gathering there, (they) tried to divide people in various ways.”

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

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