Newly elected MPs of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance met on Saturday to formally elect Prime Minister Narendra Modi the head of the new government. The meeting was held in Central Hall of Parliament around 6 pm.
Later on Saturday, an NDA delegation led by BJP President Amit Shah called on President Ram Nath Kovind. “A letter stating that Narendra Modi had been elected leader of the BJP Parliamentary Party was handed over to the president,” Rashtrapati Bhavan tweeted. “Letters of support from NDA constituent parties were also handed over to the president.”
The delegation comprised Prakash Singh Badal, Rajnath Singh, Nitish Kumar, Ram Vilas Paswan, Sushma Swaraj, Uddhav Thackeray, Nitin Gadkari, Edappadi K Palaniswami, Conrad Sangma and Neiphiu Rio.
Modi’s swearing-in ceremony as prime minister is likely to take place on May 30, ANI reported.
“This is the beginning of achieving our resolution to build a New India,” Modi said in an address to the NDA parliamentary meeting. “We must move ahead with new energy but at the same time also understand the Indian democracy...The conscience of the Indian voter is unparalleled, the voter never respects those hungry for power.”
Modi said the NDA must walk “shoulder-to-shoulder” and said he is happy to be the one who takes the blame if anything goes wrong. “You [NDA members] have chosen me your leader, I think it is only part of the process. But I am one of you, just an equal.”
People did not only vote for the BJP in 2014, they also showed the government the way, they were participants, Modi said. “When people have faith, instead of anti-incumbency, there is a pro-incumbency wave,” he added.
There is an increase of at least 25% in the number of votes the BJP got in 2014 and 2019, the prime minister said, claiming that his party got as many more votes this time as the entire share Donald Trump got in the United States presidential election in 2016. “In 17 states, the voters gave more than 50% votes to the BJP,” he said. “When I was campaigning, I realised that it is not Modi or BJP that is contesting the elections, it is the people of the country.”
Modi said the NDA this time has the largest number of women parliamentarians. This has been made possible due to women power, he added.
The prime minister said the NDA’s slogan is “NARA” – National Ambition and Regional Aspirations. “The NDA’s core is energy and synergy,” Modi said, adding that the NDA’s second name is “energy”.
Modi also stressed on the need to win over the trust of minorities, who, according to the prime minister, have been made to live in fear and were exploited during elections for votebank politics. “The way the poor have been cheated, the minorities have been deceived the same way. It would have been good if their education, their health had been in focus. I expect from you in 2019 that you would be able to make a hole in that deception. We have to earn their trust,” he said.
Modi asked the NDA members to avoid making irresponsible statements that may hurt the government. He told the NDA members to be aware of “off-the-record” conversations with mediapersons. “No matter how hard we work, one bad comment can destroy all of it,” he said.
He also claimed the media is trying to spread rumours by sharing names of possible Cabinet members. “Never believe anybody who says you are going to be a minister, responsibilities will be given as per norms,” he said. His comments come amid reports that Arun Jaitley, who was the finance minister between 2014 and 2019, is unlikely to continue in the post due to poor health.
Modi also asked the MPs to shun VIP culture. He said legislators should stand in queues for security at airports just like other citizens.
The prime minister said the NDA’s new mantra is “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, and Sabka Vishwas”. “We must not leave anyone behind, there should be no discrimination,” he said. “We ran the government for poor people between 2014 and 2019, I can say that the country’s poor elected the government this time.”
‘Tsunami of support’, says Amit Shah
Addressing the NDA meeting, BJP President Amit Shah said the mandate in this election made it clear that people want politics of performance and have sidelined dynasty and caste politics. “It has been a historic mandate,” Shah said. “Everyone believed that Modi government would return with a clear mandate. The nation has blessed us from all corners of the country.”
Referring to the Balakot air strike and the “surgical strikes”, Shah said the armed forces’ actions have showed that there is a leader in the country who “can go into the terrorists’ home and hit them back”.
“This is a huge endorsement for politics of performance, people everywhere have voted for Modi – there was a tsunami of support,” he said.
Shah claimed Modi has not taken a single day off in the last 20 years. “He has worked 18 hours day after day,” Shah said at the meeting. “Modi took decisions which are good for nation, not to increase vote bank.”
Earlier on Saturday, President Ram Nath Kovind dissolved the 16th Lok Sabha after Modi and his government submitted their resignations to pave way to form a new government at the Centre. The Election Commission of India, meanwhile, submitted the list of 542 newly-elected members of the Lok Sabha to the president that will enable him to initiate the formal process of new government formation.
Recording a massive victory, the Bharatiya Janata Party on its own won 303 seats of the 542 seats in the 2019 General Elections. The Congress secured only 52 seats, which is not enough for it to claim the post of the Leader of Opposition in the new House.
“The sun sets on this term but the brightness our work has brought will continue to illuminate the lives of millions. A new dawn awaits, a new term beckons,” Modi tweeted after resigning on Friday. “We are even more determined to fulfil the dreams of 130 crore Indians and create the New India all of us dreamt of.”
Unidentified officials told PTI that there is no decision taken on whether foreign dignitaries would be invited to the swearing-in ceremony. In 2014, Modi had invited the heads of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation nations to his oath-taking ceremony as prime minister.