Indian Prime Minister Modi appoints the cabinet as a coalition government after his party loses the majority


NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s Narendra Modi, recently sworn in for a third straight term, appointed a Cabinet Monday that retained his top ministers in crucial portfolios even as his Hindu nationalist party lost their majority in a shock election result.

There was no change in the top four ministries. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who headed the country’s foreign policy for the past five years, was restored to his position as foreign minister. Amit Shah will continue as India’s Home Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman will continue as Finance Minister and Rajnath Singh will remain Defense Minister.

India’s six-week elections came to an end last week, with Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party failing to win a majority on its own after winning landslide victories in 2014 and 2019. However, his National Democratic Alliance coalition won enough seats to form the government, with him at the helm.

This is the first time the BJP under Modes needs support from its regional allies to form a government, after a decade of controlling the majority in the Indian parliament.

Final election results showed Modi’s BJP winning 240 seats, well below the 272 needed for a majority. Together, the parties in the NDA coalition won 293 seats in the 543-member lower house of parliament.

Modi, 73, is only the second Indian prime minister to win a third consecutive term.

On Sunday, he and 71 ministers took the oath of office at the Indian presidential palace, Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi. 61 of them were from the BJP, while the remaining were BJP’s NDA allies. Only seven of them were women, and none from the Muslim community, India’s largest minority group whose political representation while lawmakers have shrunk under Modi.

The results, which defied exit polls predicting a landslide for the BJP, left Modi’s coalition government largely dependent on two key regional allies – the Telugu Desam Party in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh and Janata Dal (United) in the eastern state of Bihar – to stay indoors. current. On Sunday, two lawmakers from each party were sworn in as ministers.

The surprising drop in support for the BJP means Modi will need support from his regional allies to stay in power, and experts say he may have to. adapt to a management style he’s not used to that.

Modi, an outspoken Hindu nationalist, is considered one champion of the country’s Hindu majority, who account for 80% of India’s 1.4 billion population. His supporters credit him with rapid economic growth and improving India’s global standing since he came to power.

But critics say he did that too undermined India’s democracy and its status as a secular nation with attacks by Hindu nationalists on the country’s minorities, especially Muslims, and a shrinking space for dissent and a free media. His political opponents, who are now more strengthened than beforealso focused their campaign around his government’s mixed economic performance, pointing to high unemployment and growing inequality despite strong growth, which analysts said resonated with voters.

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