May 25, 2019 4:17 pm
Updated: May 30, 2019 11:24 am

Narendra Modi appointed as PM for second term by India’s president

WATCH: People cheered and celebrated in the streets as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept to a huge election victory.

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India‘s president on Saturday appointed Narendra Modi as the prime minister soon after newly-elected lawmakers from the ruling alliance, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, elected him as their leader after a thunderous victory in national elections.

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President Ram Nath Kovind said in a tweet that he also asked Modi to forward the names of those to be appointed as ministers in his government and the date for swearing-in for his second five-year term as prime minister. Modi and some leaders of his alliance met the president on Saturday.

READ MORE: Incumbent Narendra Modi’s party claims victory in India elections

Media reports said that Modi is likely to be sworn in by Kovind on Thursday.

BJP president Amit Shah announced Modi’s name as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance in a meeting of the lawmakers in the Central Hall of Parliament in New Delhi.

The Election Commission announced that the BJP won 303 out of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, after the official vote count from the six-week-long election was completed on Friday. That is well beyond the simple majority a party in India needs to form a government.

WATCH: India’s Modi supporters celebrate as BJP claims victory in general election

The BJP’s top rival, the Indian National Congress led by Rahul Gandhi, won 52 seats, and the All India Trinamool Congress led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee won 22.

Critics say Modi and his party have applied divisive policies and used a Hindu-first strategy. But Modi said after Saturday’s vote that “this election has become a movement of social unity.”

“It is generally said that the election divides, creates distances, makes walls. But the 2019 elections have worked to break the walls,” he said in his address.

READ MORE: Exit polls put Modi ahead in India’s marathon election

On Friday, Modi met with his outgoing Cabinet ministers and later presented his resignation to the country’s president. The president asked the officials to continue to serve until the new government assumes office.

Gandhi, whose great-grandfather, grandmother and father were all prime ministers, personally conceded his seat, long a Congress party bastion, to his BJP rival, India’s textiles minister, marking the end of an era for modern India’s most powerful political dynasty.

WATCH: India prepares for Modi’s return after exit polls show his party leading in election

Vote counting of the estimated 600 million ballots cast over six weeks of staggered polling — the world’s largest democratic exercise — began early Thursday.

The victory was largely seen as a referendum on Modi’s Hindu-first politics that some observers say have bred intolerance toward Muslims and other religious minorities, as well as his muscular stance on neighbouring Pakistan, with whom India nearly went to war earlier this year after suicide attacks killed more than 40 Indian security officials in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

READ MORE: How India runs the biggest election in the world

Modi effectively used the incident as a major campaign tool after responding to the attack with an airstrike in Pakistan that triggered nationalist sentiments, with the BJP saying Modi is the right person to ensure India’s national security.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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