Indian prime minister-elect Narendra Modi summoned senior figures from his Hindu nationalist party yesterday for talks on building a new government that is set to steer India sharply to the right.
Modi was holding meetings in New Delhi with his closest aides, as well as national and state leaders of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after storming to power at general elections with a strong mandate for economic reform.
A day after parties, street parades and religious ceremonies were staged around the country to celebrate the BJP’s landslide election victory, Modi was behind closed doors working on forming his new Cabinet.
B.S Yeddyurappa, a BJP leader from Karnataka State, was among the first to meet Modi at Gujarat House in Delhi as rounds of negotiations for plum posts got under way, television footage showed.
“All kinds of people are meeting Modi,” senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said, declining to give details of the talks.
Modi, a popular, but divisive, figure, later met the party’s elder statesman L.K. Advani at his Delhi residence after the pair fell out last year over Modi’s nomination as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
Modi, a former tea boy who has governed his home state of Gujarat for the past 13 years, is expected to take office later this week after securing the strongest mandate of any Indian leader in 30 years.
Modi and his right-wing BJP trounced the left-leaning Indian National Congress, which has ruled India for most of the 60 years since India’s independence, piling humiliation on the famous Gandhi family that dominates the party.
Modi faces enormous expectations from tens of millions of voters after pledging to create jobs and increase development to revive the country’s stagnant economy growing at the lowest level in a decade.
After his presidential-style campaign dominated the election, Modi reiterated yesterday his pledge to work with his BJP-led National Democratic Alliance coalition to make India a world leader “once again.”
“NDA is committed to creating new opportunities to empower the people of India & to make India a Jagat [world] Guru once again,” he said on his official Twitter account.