India: Modi-led alliance says it will form next government

Media reports said he would be sworn in as prime minister on Saturday


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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Wed 5 Jun 2024, 7:19 PM

India's Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) agreed with allies on Wednesday to form a government after a general election in which it failed to secure an outright majority for the first time in a decade.

The 15-member National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition — led by Modi's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — has 293 seats in parliament, giving it control of the legislature.

"We all unanimously choose respected NDA leader Narendra Modi as our leader," a BJP-issued alliance statement said.

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It said the NDA government would "preserve India's heritage" and work for the "all-round development of the country".

Election results released on Tuesday upended conventional wisdom throughout the six-week election that Modi would power to a landslide win.

Tougher third term

Analysts said Modi's reliance on coalition partners means he faces the prospect of a far tougher-than-expected third term.

"It will force Modi to take the point of view of others — we shall see more democracy and a healthy parliament," said Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, who has written a biography of Modi.

"He will have to be a leader that he has never been; we will have to see a new Modi."

Indian media reports said Modi would be sworn in as prime minister on Saturday.

Modi, 73, insisted on Tuesday night that the election results were a victory that ensured he would continue his agenda.

"Our third term will be one of big decisions and the country will write a new chapter of development," Modi told a crowd of cheering supporters in the capital New Delhi after his win. "This is Modi's guarantee."

The BJP secured 240 seats in parliament, well down on the 303 from five years ago and 32 seats short of a majority on its own.

Remarkable turnaround

The main opposition Congress party won 99 seats in a remarkable turnaround, almost doubling its 2019 tally of 52.

Congress party president Mallikarjun Kharge said the result was a vote against Modi "and the substance and style of his politics".

"It is a huge political loss for him personally apart from being a clear moral defeat as well," he told party leaders at a meeting of the opposition alliance.

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