7 Jun 2024

Hectic negotiations as PM Modi to present his claim to form a new coalition govt today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to present his claim to form a new coalition government today following a meeting with all the recently elected MPs of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), as per sources. Since the results were announced on Tuesday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been actively involved in negotiations with its alliance partners.

The NDA secured 293 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha. The BJP held a comfortable majority in the two earlier terms. But the saffron party obtained 240 seats this time, falling considerably short of the 272 threshold required to independently form a government.

The four allies whose support is critical for the BJP to reach the majority are N Chandrababu Naidu's TDP, which has won 16 seats, Nitish Kumar's JDU (12), Eknath Shinde's Shiv Sena (7) and Chirag Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party-Ram Vilas (5).

The motley assortment of regional parties are seeking to leverage their new influence to extract minister positions.

TDP wants five posts in the cabinet, Nitish seeks major portfolios

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is expected to demand five posts in the cabinet including parliamentary speaker, said sources.

On the other hand, Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) is also keen on getting two major portfolios - railways and rural development, sources have said.

Nitish, Naidu confer with party leaders

N. Chandrababu Naidu and Nitish Kumar, experienced figures in coalition politics, conferred with their party members before the NDA gathering today.

On the other hand, the BJP appears reluctant to include allies in the four crucial ministries falling under the Cabinet Committee on Security – defense, finance, home affairs, and external affairs.

BJP will also not want to give up key portfolios

The BJP will also not want to give up portfolios that are critical to its infrastructure push, such as road transport and highways, or its welfare agenda, sources have said.

The coalition negotiations are a throwback to an era before 2014 - when PM Modi swept to power with an outright BJP majority - in which alliance partners haggled for positions and benefits.

PM Modi will chair the NDA meeting today where he will be formally elected as the leader. He is scheduled to meet President Droupadi Murmu later on Friday to stake his claim to form a government.

He will take oath in a grand ceremony on Sunday evening.

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