Narendra Modi to be elected BJP, NDA leader today

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NEW DELHI: Jockeying for positions in the new Union Cabinet gained momentum on Monday as Narendra Modi is all set to be elected as leader of the BJP parliamentary party and the NDA coalition on Tuesday, ahead of his being called to form the government by the President.

Modi will meet President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday after his election in the first formal step before he is sworn in as Prime Minister probably by the weekend.

A number of names of top BJP leaders including Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, Murli Manohar Joshi and Venkaiah Naidu were doing the rounds for possible inclusion in Modi’s cabinet.

Besides, some leaders belonging to allies like Shiv Sena, TDP, Akali Dal and LJP may also be included.

The 282 newly-elected Lok Sabha members of BJP along with its Rajya Sabha members will assemble in the Central Hall of Parliament around noon to elect the 63-year-old Modi as their leader. Shortly later, they will be joined by their counterparts from the allies who will elect Modi as the leader of the NDA coalition.

A delegation of the coalition will call on the President later in the day to convey to him the decision of the two Parliamentary groups that will pave the way for President to invite Modi and ask him to form the government.

For the third day in succession, hectic discussions were on regarding government formation with Modi himself receiving leaders.

For the first time since the results were declared, Swaraj called on Modi in Gujarat Bhawan, the nerve centre of activities these days. Close aides Jaitley and Amit Shah, besides Kalyan Singh met the Prime Minister to-be separately.

Vaiko, an ally of BJP in Tamil Nadu, who lost the election also met Modi, while YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy also called on him and extended “issue based” support to his government.

Sources claim that Modi kept to himself the strategy over his cabinet formation.

After Tuesday’s election, Modi will go to Ahmedabad in the evening. On May 21, he will resign as chief minister and a new leader of the Gujarat BJP legislature party will be elected to succeed him in the state.
Sources say that Modi’s close confidante and revenue minister Anandiben Patel is the frontrunner for the chief minister’s post.

As party leaders continued parleys among themselves and with RSS leaders, indications emerged that the leadership would like Jaitley to be part of the government, notwithstanding his defeat.

While the role of party patriarch LK Advani in the new government is not clear, sources say party veteran Murli Manohar Joshi is said to have conveyed to Modi that he has no problems in working under him in his cabinet.

The RSS office in Jhandewala was also abuzz with activity as a number of newly-elected BJP MPs met senior RSS leaders.

Modi’s close aide Shah and Jaitley also met top RSS functionaries and held discussions.

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