Opinion | The Three Big Takeaways From Modi 3.0

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi took oath for a third term yesterday along with 71 ministers of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. He is the first non-Congress Prime Minister - as also only the second Prime Minister after Jawaharlal Nehru - to be elected for a third term in a row.

The new government will include 30 Cabinet ministers, five Ministers of State with Independent Charge, and 36 Ministers of State. Ministers from 11 allies and 24 states have found a place in the Modi 3.0 Cabinet - 65% of whose members come from OBC, SC, ST and minority communities. 

The NDA altogether won 293 seats in this election, of which 240 were the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP). The party fell 32 seats short of a majority. The INDIA bloc was not far behind with 232 seats. The result was quite different from what the exit polls predicted: 365 seats for the NDA (NDTV's poll of polls). Against the BJP's campaign call of 'Mission 400', the final verdict was a big setback. 

On the other hand, in a revival of sorts, the Congress almost doubled its tally from 52 in 2019 to 99 in 2024. Regional parties have emerged as kingmakers for the NDA, with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Janata Dal (United) (JD-U) winning 16 and 12 seats, respectively. The Trinamool Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) have also performed well, winning 29 and 37 seats, respectively. 

There are three key messages embedded in the 2024 mandate: balance of power, stability and continuity. 

Balance of Power

India has returned to the coalition era of 1989-2014 after a 10-year Modi regime, in which the BJP had ruled with a simple majority of its own. Though the party didn't require allies in the last 10 years, the NDA government did make space for ministerial positions with allies. However, the control of power rested with the BJP primarily. 

The voter seems to have voted for 'balance' in this election as well as against the chorus of "Abki baar 400 paar". Currently, 20 states have NDA governments while 10 are led by opposition parties. The verdict spotlights the strength of India's federal structure. It's a vote for regional parties and it enables them to claim their due share in the Central pie. The government requires the coming together of various institutions and actors; Modi himself had defined this early in his first term as 'cooperative federalism'. 

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While 60 ministers are from the BJP, 11 are from alliance partners. Almost all allies - ranging from the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Janata Dal (United) (JD-U), the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), the Apna Dal, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU), the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), the Janata Dal (Secular) (JD-S), the  Republican Party of India (Athawale) (RPI-A), the Shiv Sena - have found representation. 


Three factors provide stability to Modi 3.0: 

  • This is a pre-poll alliance, more stable than any post-poll government;
  • The BJP is the dominant partner, accounting for about 80% of the seats of the alliance;
  • The BJP continues to be the central pole of Indian politics. Its tally is 2.4 times the Congress; it's also more than the combined tally of the INDIA bloc

True, both Atal Bihari Vajpayee with 182 MPs and Manmohan Singh with 145 MPs in UPA 1 and 206 in UPA 2, did complete full terms. But those were not without hiccups. Modi 3.0 government can instead be compared to the 1991 P.V. Narasimha Rao government, when Congress had a similar number of MPs at 244. The era of economic liberalisation was ushered in during that period from 1991-96. 

Former chief ministers, including Shivraj Singh Chouhan, H.D. Kumaraswamy, Jitan Ram Manjhi, Manohar Lal Khattar and Sarbananda Sonowal are part of the Cabinet, and their presence lends stability to the government given the years of administrative experience under their belt. 


The voters have voted for continuity of the BJP-led NDA government, albeit with a reduced majority. The mandate rewards the BJP and Modi for the development carried out during the last 10 years, but also places checks and balances. 

Modi at the helm signals continuity of his party's policies and programmes, in consultation with allies. His foreign policy, which has made India a vishwabandhu (universal ally) on the global stage, is likely to remain in place. The BJP's economic policy of focusing on growth with welfare receives an impetus with its two key allies, Chandrababu Naidu and Nitish Kumar, also championing these aspects. 

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At least 16 senior members of the previous cabinets have been sworn in, which lends another layer of continuity to the government. They include Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, S. Jaishankar, Nirmala Seetharaman, Piyush Goyal, Manuskh Mandaviya, Jyotiraditya Scindia and J.P. Nadda, to name a few. The continuity has also re-energised the market, which saw a big jump that erased the losses recorded on June 4. 

PM Modi has emphasised that he would strive to ensure "sarvamat", that is, consensus, in all decisions taken by his next government. This is the key to honouring the mandate of balance, stability and continuity. 

(Amitabh Tiwari is a political strategist and commentator. In his earlier avatar, he was a corporate and investment banker.)

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author