"Consensus Very Important...": PM As BJP's Coalition Government Starts Term

The Prime Minister, with other Members of Parliament, spoke before taking the oath for the 18th Lok Sabha; he won Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi seat for a third straight time.

'Consensus Very Important...': PM As BJP's Coalition Government Starts Term
New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Monday "consensus is very important to run the country". He was speaking on the first day of the new Parliament session, the first since the Lok Sabha election gave him a third term thanks to the party-led NDA, which allowed the BJP to cross the 272-seat majority mark.

Mr Modi also thanked the people of the country. "The people have given us an opportunity for a third time... our responsibilities have increased three times. That is why I assure countrymen that in our third term we will work three times harder, and achieve three times the results," he declared.

"In the last 10 years we have always tried to implement a tradition because we believe a majority is required to run the government, but to a run a country a consensus is of the utmost importance."

"It will be our constant efforts to serve the country and fulfil the aspirations of the 140 crore people, with everyone's consent and by taking everyone together," the PM said, "We want to go ahead and speed up decisions by taking everyone together... by maintaining the Constitution's sanctity."

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The Prime Minister, with other Members of Parliament, spoke before taking the oath of office for the 18th Lok Sabha; Mr Modi won Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi seat for a third straight time.

The administering of oaths for the new MPs took place against a row over the nomination of the BJP's Odisha MP Bhartruhari Mahtab as the Pro Tem Speaker. The Congress - expecting Kodikunnil Suresh, a Dalit leader and an eight-time MP from Kerala, to be Pro Tem Speaker - criticised the BJP.

Mr Modi is expected to announce the full-time Speaker on Wednesday.

Pegged back by the Congress-led INDIA bloc and its 232 seats, the BJP won only 240 seats - 32 short of majority - despite exit polls unanimously handing the saffron party a thumping win. Eventually the Mr Modi needed the 16 MPs of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his TDP, as well as the 12 of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JDU to get over the finishing line.

After enjoying brute majorities in earlier terms, Mr Modi must handle a coalition in which allies, particularly the TDP and JDU, and also the Shiv Sena and NCP factions led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy, Ajit Pawar, are among many parties to be kept satisfied.

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The Prime Minister also took a swipe at the opposition.

"The people of the country expect good steps from the opposition. I hope the opposition will live up to the expectations (and) maintain the dignity of democracy. People do not want drama and disturbance. People want substance. The country needs a responsible opposition and I have full faith that the MPs in this 18th Lok Sabha will try to fulfill these expectations of the common man..."

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The swipe comes as the opposition is prepping for massive protests against the new government over irregularities - from leaked question papers to extra marks - in competitive exams like the UGC-NET (for appointment to professorial posts) and NEET-UG (for undergraduate medical courses).

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