India to invite top leaders of neighbouring countries to Modi's swearing-in ceremony

English | 06 June, 2024 | 09:51 AM
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Preparations for government formation began on Wednesday with the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) unanimously electing Narendra Modi as its leader while the opposition INDIA bloc said it will take appropriate steps at the appropriate time to "realise the people's desire not to be ruled by the BJP government".

The ruling and opposition alliances held parallel meetings at the Prime Minister's residence and Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge's residence respectively in the evening, a day after the election results gave a clear majority to the BJP-led NDA.

While the BJP won 240 Lok Sabha seats of its own, the NDA has bagged 293 seats, comfortably above the majority mark of 272 in the 543-member House, paving the way for Modi to take the oath for a third consecutive term, a first for any ruling alliance since 1962.

Setting the tone for his third straight term as the head of a coalition government, Prime Minister Modi chaired a meeting of the leaders of NDA parties who unanimously elected him as its leader.

The NDA MPs will meet on June 7 to formally elect Modi as their leader and the alliance leaders will then meet the President of India to submit their letters of support, HAM (Secular) leader and former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi said after attending the meeting.

The new government may be sworn in over the weekend, sources said, adding that there is a view to wrap up the formalities quickly to not allow any mood of uncertainty to build up, something a buoyant opposition may push.

"Met our valued NDA partners. Ours is an alliance that will further national progress and fulfil regional aspirations. We will serve the 140 crore people of India and work towards building a Viksit Bharat," Prime Minister Modi said on X after the meeting.

At the NDa meeting at PM's residence, TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, LJP(R) leader Chirag Paswan, JD(S) leader H D Kumarawamy, Jana Sena's Pawan Kalyan, AGP's Atul Bora and NCP's Praful Patel were among the 21 leaders from 16 parties present. The meeting was also attended by BJP's Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and J P Nadda.

With the numbers stacked in favour of the ruling NDA, the INDIA bloc indicated a "wait and watch" approach after its old allies Nitish Kumar and N Chandrababu Naidu, who are now in the NDA, did not reciprocate to overtures and threw their weight behind Modi.

After nearly two-hour deliberations with other INDIA bloc parties, Kharge said the opposition leaders resolved to continue their fight against the "fascist rule of the BJP led by Modi" even as they thanked the people for their overwhelming support to the bloc.

"We will take appropriate steps at the appropriate time to realise people's desire not to be ruled by the BJP's government," Kharge said while reading out a statement adopted by all the alliance constituents after the deliberations at his residence.

The joint statement indicated that the alliance is keeping its options open while choosing not to stake a claim at government formation for now.

The Congress president had convened the meeting to discuss the political situation and the election results, explore any possibility of government formation and whether to reach out to their old partners Nitish Kumar and Chandrababu Naidu.

Kharge said that the opposition would continue to work together and would definitely stand by the promises made to the people and keep them.

"The constituents of the INDIA bloc thank the people of India for their overwhelming support. The people's mandate has been a befitting reply to the BJP and their politics of hate, corruption and deprivation," Kharge said.

"This is a mandate in defence of the Constitution of India, and against price rise, unemployment and crony capitalism and also to save democracy," Kharge added while announcing the decision of the alliance partners.

In his opening remarks, Kharge said the alliance welcomes all parties that share its fundamental commitment to the values enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution and to its many provisions for economic, social and political justice.

Kharge, flanked by former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, NCP (SCP) president Sharad Pawar, TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin and other leaders including Sharad Pawar, Sitaram Yechury, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav, Champai Soren, Raghav Chadha, Sanjay Singh, D Raja and Sanjay Raut, said the grouping will continue to fight against the "fascist rule" of the BJP.

"The people's mandate has given a befitting reply to the BJP and their politics of hate, corruption and deprivation. This is a political and moral defeat of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Kharge said.

A resolution was passed at the NDA meeting which said the alliance government will continue working to lift people's living standards for the country's all-round development while conserving its heritage.

"We are all proud that the NDA fought the 2024 Lok Sabha polls unitedly under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and won. We all NDA leaders unanimously elect Narendra Modi as our leader," it added.

The resolution also said that people have seen the country being developed in every sector in the last 10 years due to the pro-people policies of the NDA government under Modi.

Janata Dal (United) leader Sanjay Jha, who was present in the meeting, said the formalities related to the formation of the government at the Centre under Modi are expected to be over soon.

However, it will be a different act for him this time as the BJP has fallen well short of the majority and depends on allies for the government-formation after enjoying a comfortable majority on its own in the previous two terms of his government.

Hosting the meeting, the BJP presented a picture of collective partnership with its allies with Naidu, Kumar and Shinde seated to the left of Modi while Nadda, Singh and Shah flanked the prime minister on his right.

The parties of Naidu and Kumar, who together command the support of 28 MPs, have rubbished speculation on their future moves.

All leaders congratulated the PM for his leadership and the strides our nation has made under him. They appreciated the PM's hard work and efforts in nation-building, he said.

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