PM Modi Meets President, Will Take Oath On Saturday


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take oath for a third time on Saturday, and in so doing, become the first (and only) three-term leader of the country since Congress stalwart and India’s first PM, Jawaharlal Nehru. Prime Minister Modi has reached Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet President Droupadi Murmu and resign from the top post. He would then stake claim to form the government.  

Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party – which claimed 282 seats in 2014 and 303 in the 2019 election won 240 seats this time – 32 short of the 272-majority mark. It will now rely on the 53 seats won by members of the party-led National Democratic Alliance to seal a third term. 

Mr Modi retained his Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi, defeating the Congress’ Ajay Rai by less than 1.5 lakh votes to become a three-time MP from the temple town.

Earlier today Mr Modi – who last evening confirmed the NDA would stake claim to form the government for a third time, calling the poll results a “victory of the world’s largest democracy” – chaired a meeting of the Union Cabinet for the final time in this government. 

The BJP had set itself an ambitious target of 370 seats (400+ including NDA partners), but they were pegged back by the opposition alliance – the Congress-led INDIA bloc. The opposition has 232 seats after a stellar performance that saw it defy exit pollsters and slash the BJP’s advantage in key states. 

The BJP, though, had enough in its tank to finish as the single-largest party yet again, thanks to good results from Odisha (20 of 21 seats), Andhra Pradesh (21 of 25), Madhya Pradesh (29 of 29), and Bihar (30 of 40), to offset the losses there and in other states.

Significantly, the BJP also made a breakthrough in Kerala to win its first ever Lok Sabha seat in the southern state. The BJP has historically struggled in the south, but the Kerala and Andhra results, as well as doubling its Telangana tally to eight, suggest a change. The party did, however, finish with zero seats in Tamil Nadu for a second consecutive election. The ruling DMK and INDIA bloc allies won all 39 seats.

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Meanwhile, addressing an adoring crowd at the party’s Delhi HQ late Tuesday, the Prime Minister said the people of India had “placed their faith” in the NDA for a third time.  “I bow to the people for this affection and assure them we will continue the good work done in the last decade to keep fulfilling aspirations..”

Mr Modi also made special mention of Telugu Desam Party leader Chandrababu Naidu and Janata Dal (United) boss Nitish Kumar, veteran, coalition-era politicians who are now seen as kingmakers.

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Mr Naidu’s TDP has 16 Lok Sabha MPs and Nitish Kumar’s JDU has 12. 

Were the NDA to lose these 28 seats, then its score of 293 drops to 265. And should INDIA convince Nitish Kumar – a founding member who quit to join the BJP – and Mr Naidu – who was earlier with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance – to return, it could spell trouble for Mr Modi and the BJP.

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Sources said the Congress and the INDIA bloc are considering a late approach to both Mr Naidu and Nitish Kumar. The Congress has been circumspect on this topic, but senior coalition leaders have suggested this is a possible course of action. Nitish Kumar has not commented on such speculation, but Mr Naidu has, telling reporters in Delhi today, “I am in the NDA… am going for the meeting.”

The NDA and INDIA are in a huddle in Delhi today to review poll results and chalk out future plans.

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 Prime Minister Narendra Modi may take oath for a third time on Saturday, sources told NDTV this morning, and, in so doing, become the first (and only) three-term leader of the country since Congress stalwart Jawaharlal Nehru.    

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