(Photo by PRAKASH SINGH / AFP)
(Photo by PRAKASH SINGH / AFP)

New Delhi: It was a sheer formality of the unanimous election of Narendra Modi as leader of both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) finished in straight 20 minutes on Saturday evening in Parliament”s Central Hall to let him go to the President to stake claim to form the government. His election as the BJP parliamentary party”s leader on a motion by party president Amit Shah was finished in just six minutes, after it was seconded by Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari and endorsed by the party”s MPs. At the same gathering, the NDA took another 14 minutes to elect Modi as its leader on a motion by Akali Dal supremo Parkash Singh Badal. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal(U) was the first to second the motion, followed by Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thacdkeray and the chief ministers of other states representing their parties, including Tamil Nadu”s Edappadi Palanisamy.

Both Modi and Amit Shah stressed that their BJP alone has a clear majority with 303 MPs this time and yet it wants all alliance partners winning just 50 seats to serve the nation effectively. Thirty-five of these MPs are from only two parties — 18 from Shiv Sena and 17 from Janata Dal(U). The function in the Central Hall, however, went on for almost two hours up to 7.42 pm pm because of just two speeches, first by Amit Shah and then a very lengthy 75-minute discourse of minutes by Modi. The dinner followed. While Modi had denied the Lok Sabha ticket to BJP veterans Lal Krishna Advani and Dr Murli Manohar Joshi but both were present to bless him with flower bouquets after his unanimous election. Those presenting the bouquets also included external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj who did not contest the election this time while seated among the MPs was also another minister Uma Bharti who too did not contest.

The only man missing from the function held to put Modi on the throne was finance minister Arun Jaitley who could not make it because of his health difficulties that had also prevented him from attending the grand victory celebrations at the BJP headquarters on Thursday. PM Modi said the NDA secured the massive mandate because of the positive campaign that brought the positive votes that is called a pro-incumbency vote. He, however, reminded the elected MPs that they have to work not only for those who voted them but also for those who didn”t to win over their trust. There is no “paraya” (alien) for the people”s representatives. His message was clear that he would work equally for those who did not vote for the BJP or the NDA to win over their confidence. He was happy to note that it is for the first time since Independence that the highest ever voting percentage turned the tide in favour of the NDA. He devoted major part of his speech in warning the first-timers elected to the Lok Sabha not to get in the trap of the media to speak on any issue and later regret. He also told them not to be carried away by the media projecting this or that MP to be inducted in his ministry. “Newspapers don”t make the ministers and hence be suspicious until the new ministry takes the oath,” he advised. Check even if any officer tells you that you are being inducted as a minister, he said.

Nearly 300 Lok Sabha MPs elected this time are first-timers and hence Modi told them about many pitfalls they have to avoid and have a vigil to fall into any trap of soothe-sayers. He asked the MPs to suspect those who come forward to provide their services voluntarily and avoid engaging anybody just on the recommendation of the MPs who are not elected by checking them personally. Modi advised the gathered MPs to escape from the VIP culture, nor should remained glued to the issues of their own constituencies as they should remember that they are the MPs of India. He also shed tears on how the poor have been cheated by previous governments to keep them in poverty perpetuity. Shah, who spoke just before him, attributed the NDA”s grand victory to three factors: 50 crore poor’s blessings for benefiting from various welfare programmes of the Modi government and hope of the rest poor to get the benefits if Modi continues as the PM, massive response to the national security issue and the BJP”s politics of (government”s) performance that swept away three ills dogging the nation all these years — dynasty, casteism and appeasement. He hoped the Modi government will get still bigger support from 75 resolutions sought to be achieved in 2022 when India completes 75 years of Independence. Meanwhile, President Kovind on Saturday dissolved the 16th Lok Sabha on Friday’s advice of the Union Cabinet, after he got the list of the newly elected members of the new House from the Election Commission. This sets into motion the President issuing another order constituting the 17th Lok Sabha and Prime Minister Modi and the formality of leaders of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) calling up him to stake claim to form the new government under Modi”s leadership.