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NDA backs PM Modi, gears up for 2019 Lok Sabha polls

NDA backs PM Modi, gears up for 2019 Lok Sabha polls”

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) met here on Monday to express its resolve to register another victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"The resolution expresses appreciation of the bold leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi", Jaitley said.

Asked if there was any discussion about the presidential elections, the minister categorically denied it, saying "No". It spoke about the "clean government" that Modi provided in the last three years, the geographical and political expansion of NDA, and the pro-poor schemes initiated by the Centre.

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Modi's invite is largely seen as an attempt to reach out to members of the NDA before the elections, mainly because both the TDP and Shiv Sena are annoyed with the Union government. He said none of the previous government has promoted "Brand India", but Prime Minister has done it.

Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, who came out along with Jaitley to brief journalists, hailed the leadership of Modi and pointed out that it was the first time in India's history that a non-Congress leader had got such a huge majority. Leaders of BJP allies, including the new friends it has won over in Goa and north-eastern states, were present at the meeting.

Amid speculations that the NDA partners would discuss coming presidential and vice-president elections, Union minister Arun Jaitley said that it was "not on the agenda".

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This is the second NDA meeting since 2014 and was aimed at smoothing the rough edges in the coalition, even as Modi enters the second half of his five-year tenure. "We keep meeting", Jaitley said, dismissing speculation about the strained relationship between the two. BJP Chief Amit Shah also attended the meeting.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, who has often targeted the Modi government and the BJP, had separate meeting with Modi in which he sought loan waiver for farmers in Maharashtra.

Mr Shah gave the inaugural address, leaders of other parties including SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Naidu, LJP's Ram Vilas Paswan, Mr Thackeray also addressed the gathering. As this controversy has caused BJP to be labelled as "Anti South" party, now BJP leadership is said to be compelled to consider a candidate from South for either the post of President or Vice President.

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