The new govt will be sworn in between 29 and 31 May. Invitations have been sent to some key foreign leaders
The newly-elected MPs of the BJP-led NDA will meet today to formally elect Modi as their leader
NEW DELHI :
The President dissolved the 16th Lok Sabha on Friday on the recommendation of the Union cabinet, completing a formality that shifts the post-poll focus to the inauguration of the historic second successive Narendra Modi government, likely sometime next week.
The cabinet, in its last meeting on Friday, held a day after the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stormed back to power in the Lok Sabha elections, passed a resolution for the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.
President Ram Nath Kovind dissolved the Parliament after Modi informed him of the cabinet resolution, keeping with the tradition of government formation. The tenure of the present Lok Sabha ends on 3 June.
There were two meetings of the government on Friday—one of the cabinet and the other of the council of ministers. According to people familiar with the matter, Modi told the council that the BJP’s victory was a vindication of the government’s development programmes.
The large mandate places a huge responsibility on the government, he told ministers, in reference to the 303 seats won by the BJP. For the first time, a non-Congress government has won a majority for the second consecutive term at the centre.
“The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, met the President today and tendered his resignation along with the council of ministers. The President has accepted the resignation and requested Shri Narendra Modi and the council of ministers to continue till the new government assumes office," the president’s office said in a press release.
The new government will be sworn in sometime between 29 and 31 May in an outdoor ceremony, according to one person familiar with the development. “Invitations have been extended to some key foreign leaders. Their acceptance is awaited," the person said, requesting anonymity.
Among the foreign leaders who have reportedly been invited are Russian president Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, besides Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. However, there was no confirmation of the list of foreign dignitaries from India’s ministry of external affairs.
Meanwhile, wishes, congratulatory messages and phone calls continued to pour in from the world over. The presidents of the US, Russia, China, France, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, and the prime ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, besides the rulers of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bhutan, wished Modi personally. Some also complimented him on Twitter.
There was much speculation on the possible shape and size of the new cabinet. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Modi’s outgoing cabinet had 25 cabinet ministers, 11 ministers of state with independent charge, and 34 ministers of state. News reports said BJP president Amit Shah could be the next home minister, with the incumbent, Rajnath Singh, moving to defence. The current defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, could be the next foreign minister after the Sushma Swaraj decided not to contest the elections. Textiles minister Smriti Irani, too, could be rewarded with a more important portfolio after defeating Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi. Shipping and transport minister Nitin Gadkari was expected to retain his ministries, as was petroleum minister Dharamendra Pradhan.
The newly-elected MPs of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will meet on Saturday to formally elect Modi as their leader, setting in motion the process of formation of the new government, PTI reported.
The BJP said the meeting will take place in Parliament’s Central Hall at 5pm.
The NDA stormed back to power with an even bigger mandate than in 2014. The coalition won as many as 353 seats out of the total 542 in the Lok Sabha, crossing its previous tally of 336.