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India’s Modi to be sworn in as prime minister for third term with coalition allies | India Election 2024 News

Coalition members, especially the largest parties, are expected to have demanded concessions, including ministerial positions in the cabinet.

India’s Narendra Modi will be sworn in as prime minister for a third term in power, but alongside a host of allies with whom he formed a coalition after his party failed to win a majority in April-June elections.

The swearing-in ceremony will take place at the presidential palace in New Delhi on Sunday afternoon at 13:45 GMT, while the prime minister is yet to announce who will be part of his cabinet.

Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 240 seats but fell short by 32 in the 543-member lower house of parliament, recording its weakest performance after a decade of dominance of Indian politics.

Leaders of the 15-member coalition, called the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), that gave him the numbers needed to govern for a third five-year term, began negotiations in New Delhi earlier this week.

Coalition members, especially the largest parties, are expected to have demanded concessions from Modi, including ministerial positions in the cabinet. Modi’s previous cabinet had 81 ministers.

The Hindustan Times described days of “hectic talks,” while the Times of India said the BJP had tried to “reduce” its partners’ demands.

‘Finding your match’

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is the BJP’s biggest ally, with 16 seats, and is said to have bagged four cabinet berths. The party is led by 74-year-old veteran politician and three-time Prime Minister Chandrababu Naidu, and dominates politics in the southern coastal state of Andhra Pradesh.

The Janata Dal (United) party is next in line, with 12 parliamentary seats. Its leader, Nitish Kumar, 73, is known for having switched political allegiances in the past to suit his interests, abandoning the opposition and coming over to Modi’s side weeks before the election.

Analysts said the coalition will change parliamentary politics and force Modi’s once-dominant BJP to adopt a somewhat more conciliatory approach.

“In the past, the BJP has had confidence because of its absolute majority,” said Sajjan Kumar, head of the New Delhi-based political research group PRACCIS. “The coalition will now force the BJP to hold more consultations.”

Zoya Hasan of Jawaharlal Nehru University said Modi faced potential challenges ahead, warning that he could be “meeting his match” in the “shrewd politicians” of TDP’s Naidu and JD(U)’s Kumar.

Indian media have reported that Modi will appoint his own trusted BJP figures to top cabinet posts, including the ministries of home affairs, foreign affairs, finance and defence.

Security was tight in the capital on Sunday, with thousands of troops and police deployed as regional leaders arrived by plane.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, as well as leaders from Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives, will attend the ceremony and the following state banquet.

Neighboring rivals China and Pakistan are notably absent by not sending a senior leader.

Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi, a descendant of top Indian Congress Party politicians who led the alliance competing with Modi, is expected to be recognized as the country’s official opposition leader.

The seat has been vacant for a decade because the BJP had dominated the previous two elections, leaving Congress (once India’s dominant party) below a threshold.

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