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Nitish Kumar, Chandrababu Naidu’s Parties Meet Ahead of NDA Conference Today

June 7, 2024
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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to present his claim to form a new coalition government today after a meeting with all the newly elected MPs of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), sources have said. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been engaged in hectic negotiations with its alliance partners since results were declared on Tuesday.

The NDA won 293 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha. The BJP, which enjoyed a handsome majority in the previous two terms, secured only 240 seats, way behind the 272 mark needed to form a government in its own right.

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.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) wants five posts in the cabinet including parliamentary speaker, according to sources.

Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) is also keen on getting two major portfolios – railways and rural development, sources have said.

N Chandrababu Naidu and Nitish Kumar, both coalition-era veterans, are conducting discussions with their party leaders ahead of the NDA meeting today.

The BJP, however, is not keen on accommodating allies in four key ministries that come under the Cabinet Committee on Security — defence, finance, home affairs, and external affairs.

The BJP will also not want to let go of 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.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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