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Narendra Modi’s NDA Names Him to Lead New Government amid Slim Majority

Photo: Reuters

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) of India has officially designated Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lead a new coalition government for a third straight term, marking a momentous political move. Only one day had passed since the NDA’s stunning triumph by a tiny margin in the national elections, where it won a slim majority, when this decision was made on Wednesday. Since the start of his first term in 2014, Modi, a populist leader who has dominated Indian politics, has faced the problem of guiding a government that depends on the erratic backing of regional allies. The NDA, led by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won 293 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of parliament. This outcome provided them with a majority, albeit a modest one, surpassing the 272 seats required to form a government. The opposition ‘INDIA’ bloc, under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi’s Congress party, performed better than many had anticipated, securing 230 seats. The performance of the INDIA alliance, which includes a coalition of centrist and regional parties, reflects a growing sentiment of opposition to the BJP’s policies and governance style. The unexpectedly strong showing by the opposition has underscored the increasingly competitive nature of Indian politics and hinted at potential challenges for Modi’s third term.

The day after the election results, Modi convened a meeting with his 15 alliance partners at his residence in New Delhi. During this meeting, the NDA members reaffirmed their support for Modi, officially naming him as the leader to form the new government. However, the reliance on regional allies, whose support has historically been volatile, adds a layer of complexity to Modi’s leadership.
In previous terms, Modi’s government enjoyed a more comfortable majority, which allowed for smoother implementation of its policy agenda. This time, the BJP’s dependence on regional parties’ loyalties, which have been known to shift, may complicate the formation of a cohesive and stable cabinet. Ensuring the continued support of these allies will require careful negotiation and compromise, potentially slowing down or altering key reforms.
Modi’s third term is expected to focus on a range of issues, including economic reforms, national security, and social policies. However, the slim majority and the necessity to cater to the interests of diverse regional partners could impede the pace and scope of these reforms. Analysts suggest that Modi will need to adopt a more conciliatory and inclusive approach to governance to maintain coalition unity.
The strong performance of the opposition indicates a more vibrant and contested political landscape. Rahul Gandhi’s Congress party and its allies have demonstrated significant electoral strength, suggesting that the opposition will be a formidable force in parliamentary debates and public discourse.
Narendra Modi’s appointment to lead a new coalition government for a third term marks a critical juncture in Indian politics. The NDA’s slim majority, coupled with the need to manage regional allies, presents new challenges for Modi’s leadership. As the Prime Minister navigates these complexities, his ability to balance national priorities with regional interests will be crucial in shaping India’s future trajectory. The coming years will test Modi’s political acumen and the resilience of the NDA coalition in pursuing its ambitious agenda amidst a dynamically evolving political environment. 
By Roxana Stanica

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