Modi elected BJP parliamentary party leader

New Delhi


Narendra Modi was Tuesday elected BJP parliamentary party leader, paving the way for the Gujarat chief minister to become India's prime minister.

At a meeting held in parliament's central hall here, Modi's name was proposed by party patriarch L.K. Advani and seconded by other leaders including Murli Manohar Joshi, Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.

The Modi-led BJP won a staggering 282 seats in the 545-member Lok Sabha, becoming the first non-Congress party since independence to get a majority on its own. The Congress fell to an embarrassing tally of 44 seats, its lowest ever.

"Even though I have to propose the name of the leader, I am supposed to back the name which has been already decided by the party," Advani said.

BJP president Rajnath Singh then formally declared Modi to be their leader.

Singh described the moment as historic, and said this heralded an era in Indian politics that was dominated by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with all other parties pushed to a distant second as "others".

"This is an unprecedented, historic moment. Although Janata Party secured a majority in 1977 and ousted the Congress, it was a conglomeration of various parties. The BJP is the first party which has achieved this feat on its own," Singh said and added they have made inroads in states such as Kerala and West Bengal where it had been a non-entity in the past.

Singh said he was "happy and thrilled", and described the day as the fruition of party ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya's dream of a "strong, self-dependent, and free" India. - IANS