New Delhi: All set for a second term as prime minister, Narendra Modi on Saturday said his government will now begin “a new journey to build a new India with new energy” and asked newly elected MPs of the NDA to work without any discrimination, including on the basis of faith and castes.In his over 75-minute address after being elected the leader of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, Modi also stressed on the need to win over the trust of minorities, saying they were made to live in “fear” and “exploited” during elections for vote bank politics, apparently a dig at the opposition parties. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twistHe invoked the spirit of 1857 struggle for freedom, saying all communities had then joined hands for independence and a similar movement should be started for good governance now. “We stand for those who trusted us and also for those whose trust we have to win over,” he said. Modi also gave several directions to the MPs, including to not give media statements merely for publicity and shun the “VIP culture”. With speculation rife over who will join his Council of Ministers, Modi said he was yet to go through details of all the NDA MPs and asked them to not trust media reports in this regard, adding they are aimed at creating confusion and often put out with “bad intentions”. Also Read – India receives its first Rafale fighter jet from FranceResponsibilities will be given as per norms, he said. Modi said elections often divide and create gulf but 2019 polls united people and society. There was a pro-incumbency sentiment in this election and its result was a positive mandate, he said, adding that there is no better path than serving people when in power. “We ran the government for poor people between 2014-19 and I can say the poor elected govt this time,” he said. He also called for the NDA to work with cohesion for the country’s development and said his “naara” (slogan) for the alliance is “national ambition and regional aspirations”. The NDA has 353 MPs, including 303 of the BJP. Meanwhile, President Ram Nath Kovind Saturday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to decide the council of ministers and the date of his swearing-in ceremony. The president also appointed Modi to the office of Prime Minister of India, a communique issued by the Rashtrapati Bhavan said. Kovind requested Modi to advise him about the names of others to be appointed members of the Union Council of Ministers; and indicate the date and time of the swearing-in ceremony to be held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, it said. Modi was formally intimated when he called on the president at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday evening in his capacity as the leader of the BJP Parliamentary Party, which has majority support in the House of the People following the general election to the 17th Lok Sabha, the communique said. Earlier in the day, a delegation of the National Democratic Alliance led by BJP president Amit Shah and comprising Parkash Singh Badal, Rajnath Singh, Nitish Kumar, Ram Vilas Paswan, Sushma Swaraj, Uddhav Thakeray, Nitin Gadkari, K Palaniswami, Conrad Sangma and Neiphiu Rio, called on the president at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the communique said. A letter stating that Narendra Modi has been elected leader of the BJP Parliamentary Party was handed over to the president, it said. “Letters of support from NDA constituent parties were also handed over to the president,” the communique said. Earlier, Modi was unanimously elected leader of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance on Saturday at a meeting attended by its newly elected MPs and senior leaders in Parliament’s Central Hall. “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. Modi’s election was a mere formality as the NDA had already declared him the alliance’s prime ministerial candidate. He has led the NDA to a landslide win in the general election, with the BJP winning 303 seats, its highest ever, and its allies 50.
Gunmen have shot dead a suspected criminal in Ja-Ela today.Police said that unidentified gunmen had opened fire on a vehicle in the Mahawatte area in Ja-Ela. A suspected criminal identified as Krishantha Ajith Kumara alias ‘Minuwangoda Kalu Ajith’ was killed in the incident.The Police said that Krishantha Ajith Kumara was involved in several crimes and was out on bail.