New Delhi, May 25: Newly elected MPs of the BJP-led NDA met on Saturday evening formally elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi as their leader, setting in motion the process of government formation. The meeting took place in Parliament's Central Hall, before which BJP MPs separately met at Parliament House.
Modi will now call on President Ram Nath Kovind to stake his claim to form the government, following which he will be sworn in as the next prime minister, likely next week.
"Modi is elected the leader of the parliamentary party of 353 MPs unanimously," BJP president Amit Shah announced after the election as Modi acknowledged the support and cheers from MPs.
Top alliance leaders, including JD(U)'s Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray and Akali Dal's Parkash Singh Badal, extended their party's support after Modi was elected as the leader of the BJP parliamentary party at first.
Senior BJP leaders L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were present on the dais with other alliance leaders. Shah proposed Modi's name and former party presidents Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari seconded the proposal.
Many party leaders are of the view that Shah will join the Modi Cabinet and be given one of the four key ministries Home, Finance, External Affairs and Defence.
With Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj having health issues, there have been talks whether they will be part of the new dispensation or not.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to continue with a key role in the new government.
With Smriti Irani handing a shock defeat to Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, it is expected that the party may reward her with an important responsibility.
A number of senior faces from the outgoing cabinet including Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal, Narendra Singh Tomar and Prakash Javadekar are set to figure in the new cabinet.
Among allies, Shiv Sena and JD(U) are likely to be given cabinet berths as both the parties have done exceedingly well, winning 18 and 16 respectively.
The party will reward new faces from states like West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana where it has made significant inroads.
With Modi already being announced as the prime ministerial candidate of the alliance, the meeting is being considered a mere formality.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has got more than 350 members in Lok Sabha, including 303 of the BJP. According to sources, Modi is likely to visit his parliamentary constituency Varanasi on May 28, before oath-taking by new members on May 30.