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Modi relies on coalition partners and is sworn in for a rare third term as Prime Minister of India


NEW DELHI (AP) — Narendra Modi was sworn in Sunday for a rare third consecutive term as India’s prime minister. She relied on his coalition partners after his party failed to win a parliamentary majority in a surprise result.

Modi and his ministers took the oath of office, administered by President Droupadi Murmu, at the Indian presidential palace Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.

The 73-year-old popular but polarizing leader is only the second Indian prime minister, after Jawaharlal Nehru, to retain power for a third five-year term.

His Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which won in landslides in 2014 and 2019, failed to gain a majority to govern on his own in the last national elections. However, Modi’s National Democratic Alliance coalition won enough seats to form a government, with him at the helm.

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

Final election results released on Wednesday 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’s coalition government is now 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 in power.

Meanwhile, Modi’s political challenger, the INDIA alliance led by the resurgent Congress Party, has submitted a proposal stronger than expected fightthereby doubling its strength compared to the last elections, gaining 232 seats.

The Prime Minister, 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 is 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 have questioned his government’s economic performance, pointing to high unemployment and growing inequality despite strong growth.

Several South Asian leaders attended the swearing-in ceremony on Sunday, including Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu.

Tensions between India and the Maldives have increased since Muizzu was elected last year. He has since taken a pro-China stance and removed Indian troops stationed in one of the Maldives islets.

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