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BJP-led NDA to stake claim for new Govt on Friday

Oath on Saturday, allies bargain for key demands
12:15 AM Jun 06, 2024 IST | SURINDER SINGH OBEROI
bjp led nda to stake claim for new govt on friday
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New Delhi, June 5:  The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would meet President Droupadi Murmu on Friday after their meeting at 11 am at the old Parliament House in the Central Hall.

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On Wednesday, the NDA meeting held at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's residence concluded on a good note, with all the alliance partners ready to support and send a letter of support and their leader's physical presence at the President’s House.

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Today’s meeting lasted for around an hour and unanimously all the leaders accepted the leadership of Narendra Modi to be the next PM.

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This significant move comes after a closely contested election where the BJP's victory margin was less decisive than in previous terms.

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Senior leaders of the BJP, including PM Modi, set for a historic third term, outgoing Home Minister Amit Shah, and party president J P Nadda, also attended the meeting.

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They were joined by key allies including N Chandrababu Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal (United), both pivotal in securing the NDA's position.

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Around 21 members attended the meeting.

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The TDP secured 28 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh and saw Naidu return as Chief Minister in a simultaneous Assembly election, while Kumar's JD(U) won 16 seats in Bihar.

Their support is crucial for the BJP, which fell short of a majority, making these alliances essential for forming a third successive government.

PM Modi acknowledged the importance of these alliances during his victory speech, highlighting the contributions of both Naidu and Kumar.

The optics of their presence alongside Modi as he submits the government formation bid to President Murmu are seen as a strong message amid speculation about potential poaching by the Congress-led INDIA bloc.

Reports suggest that both Naidu and Kumar are negotiating hard, seeking more ministerial berths, and increased central funding.

Kumar, the Bihar Chief Minister, is pushing for early assembly polls and special status for Bihar, leveraging his 12 JD(U) MPs.

Similarly, Naidu's wish list includes significant cabinet positions, funding for Andhra Pradesh's capital development, and special status for the state.

Despite the BJP's inability to secure a majority on its own, the NDA remains comfortably above the majority mark of 272 in the 543-member Lok Sabha.

The BJP won 240 seats, while the Congress-led INDIA bloc secured 232 seats, marking a competitive landscape.

The formal support of the TDP and JD(U) is expected to be submitted on Friday, solidifying the NDA's claim.

A meeting of the newly-elected MPs of the NDA will be held on June 7 in New Delhi, with the swearing-in ceremony for the new government likely to take place on June 8.

In parallel, the opposition INDIA bloc, which saw a favourable outcome in the elections, met under Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge's leadership at his house to strategise their next moves.

The majority of the leaders wanted to play the role of strong opposition, considering both immediate and long-term strategies, including the possibility of focusing on future state elections and strengthening their position to challenge the government later.

However, some leaders wanted to negotiate with NDA alliance partners to attempt to form the government.

Shiv Sena (UBT) chief and former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray was notably absent from the INDIA bloc meeting. Representing Thackeray at the meeting were party leaders Sanjay Raut, Anil Desai, and Arvind Sawant.

It is believed that Thackeray is currently focused on discussions with several opposition leaders, as he seeks to stake a claim to form a government at the Centre.

During the meeting, Kharge addressed the INDIA bloc leaders, emphasising the significant setback faced by PM Modi in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

“The mandate is decisively against Modi, against him 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,” Kharge said in his opening remarks. “However, he is determined to subvert the will of the people.”

Kharge said, "The INDIA alliance welcomes all parties that share its fundamental commitment to the values enshrined in the preamble of our constitution and to its many provisions for economic, social, and political justice."

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