Narendra Modi was on Saturday appointed prime minister-elect by President Ram Nath Kovind, who also invited him to form the new government. After the BJP and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) unanimously elected him as their leader, Modi reached the Rashtrapati Bhawan Saturday night to stake claim to form the next government. Earlier, NDA leaders met the president with a list of their MPs as a proof of the dispensation's majority in the 17th Lok Sabha.
Modi later told reporters at the forecourts of the Rashtrapati Bhawan that President Kovind has appointed him prime minister-elect and asked him to form the new government. "I am grateful to the NDA leaders for giving me the responsibility," he said. He said the "massive mandate" given by the people also brings responsibility to fulfil their aspirations. With its resources, India has great opportunities, he said, adding "we have to be ready to take advantage of it." He also asserted that his government will not sit back, and continue with the development work at a faster pace.
"No stone will remain unturned to fulfill the aspirations and dreams," Modi said. He underlined that his government will ensure safety and security of every citizen and work for the progress of India. The outgoing Union council of ministers had tendered its resignation on Friday night and Kovind had asked Modi to continue as caretaker PM. After the NDA returned to power with a massive majority, Modi becoming the prime minister again was a foregone conclusion.
Modi, in his address to the NDA's parliamentary board meeting, touched upon a range of topics, including the "pro-incumbency" wave in the recently-concluded election, VIP culture among politicians and the need to gain the trust of minorities.
Earlier, Modi was unanimously elected as the leader of the NDA coalition. The prime minister, before taking the dais to make his address, bowed before the Constitution of India. He received a standing ovation from the MPs present at the Parliament House on two occasions: when he first entered the hall, and when he rose to make his speech.
In his over 75-minute address, Modi stressed on the need to win over the trust of minorities, saying they were made to live in "fear" and "exploited" during elections for vote-bank politics, apparently a dig at the Opposition parties.
He invoked the spirit of 1857 struggle for freedom, saying all communities had then joined hands for independence and a similar movement should be started for good governance now.
"We stand for those who trusted us and also for those whose trust we have to win over," he said.
Modi also gave several directions to the MPs, including to not give media statements merely for publicity and shun the "VIP culture".
With speculation rife over who will join his Council of Ministers, Modi said he was yet to go through details of all the NDA MPs and asked them to not trust media reports in this regard, adding they are aimed at creating confusion and often put out with "bad intentions".
Responsibilities will be given as per norms, he said.
Thanking NDA leaders for their support, Modi said, "Senior colleagues of the NDA have showered their blessings on me, and have chosen me as their leader. However, I consider this to be merely part of a system. I am one of you, and am an equal to you. We have to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with each other."
Modi said elections often divide and create gulf, but 2019 polls united people and society.
There was a pro-incumbency sentiment in this election and its result was a positive mandate, he said, adding that there is no better path than serving people when in power. "We ran the government for poor people between 2014-19 and I can say the poor elected the government this time," he said.
He also called for the NDA to work with cohesion for the country's development and said his "NARA" (slogan) for the alliance is "national ambition and regional aspirations".
Earlier, BJP president Amit Shah, who has himself been elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time from Gandhinagar, proposed Modi's name as the leader of BJP parliamentary party, which was seconded by former party president and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, another former president and Union minister Nitin Gadkari.
"I propose the name of Narendra Modi as the leader of BJP's parliamentary party," Shah said moving the resolution. "With great joy and pleasure I announce that the BJP parliamentary party has unanimously elected Narendra Modiji as its leader," Shah said.
After Modi's formal election as leader of the BJP parliamentary party, Akali Dal veteran Prakash Singh Badal moved a resolution on behalf of NDA proposing Modi as leader of the coalition. His resolution was seconded among others by JD(U) leader and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, AIADMK leader and Tamil Nadu chief minister E Palanisamy, Nagaland chief minister Niphiu Rio and Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma.
"Today is a historic day. I am very happy about the BJP's parliamentary party unanimous decision to appoint Narendra Modiji as its leader. As the leader of SAD which is a long time ally of the BJP, I support this move and congratulate Modiji for the same," Badal said.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: May 25, 2019 22:32:37 IST