Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to be sworn in for a third term on Sunday, after mixed election results left him dependent on an alliance of 15 coalition partners to govern the world's most populous country.

During the ceremony scheduled to begin at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi on Sunday evening around 7:15 p.m. local time (1:45 p.m. GMT), around thirty ministers will also take the oath of office on the Constitution, although Mr. Modi has not yet announced the composition. of his new government.

The previous government of the 73-year-old Prime Minister, a figure of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had 81 ministers.

The BJP won 240 seats in Parliament, 32 seats short of an absolute majority and significantly below the 303 seats won in 2019.

Against all expectations, the Congress, the main opposition party, acquired 99 seats, almost doubling its 2019 score (52 seats).

Narendra Modi has been at the head of India since 2014. But this time deprived of an absolute majority, he was forced to begin rapid talks with his allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), a coalition of 15 political groups, to guarantee the number of parliamentarians necessary for the formation of a government majority.

– Important concessions –

Together, they have an absolute majority with 293 of the 543 seats in Parliament, but several coalition member parties have demanded significant concessions, including important ministerial portfolios, in exchange for their support.

The most important portfolios, including the four sovereign ministries (Interior, Foreign Affairs, Finance and Defense), should nevertheless remain in the hands of members of the BJP, according to the daily The Times of India.

Analysts say the coalition will change parliamentary politics and force Modi's once-dominant BJP to take a somewhat more conciliatory approach.

“The coalition will now force the BJP to engage in more consultations,” said Sajjan Kumar, director of the New Delhi-based policy research group PRACCIS.

For Zoya Hasan, political scientist at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, Narendra Modi will face significant challenges and will have to deal with “cunning politicians” like Chandrababu Naidu, who heads both the state of Andhra Pradesh ( southeast) and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), or Nitish Kumar, at the head of the state of Bihar (east).

– Opposition inauguration –

In preparation for the inauguration ceremony, thousands of soldiers were deployed in the capital New Delhi on Sunday. The chief ministers, who rule the states, are expected to arrive by plane.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe, along with the leaders of Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives, are expected to attend the ceremony and subsequent state banquet.

China and Pakistan, India's neighbors and rivals, are notably absent and do not send a high-profile leader.

On Sunday, Mr. Modi laid flowers at the memorial of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, before visiting the National War Memorial.

Rahul Gandhi, the Hindu nationalist leader's main political rival, was appointed on Saturday to lead the Indian opposition in Parliament, after his party, the Congress party, doubled its number of seats following the result of the legislative elections.

This Congress party achieved its best score since 2014. By a unanimous vote during a meeting of the party leadership on Saturday, Rahul Gandhi was designated official leader of the Indian opposition, a status which had remained vacant since the he coming to power of Narendra Modi ten years ago.

If he is appointed, as expected, he should take on this new role from the start of next week.

The rules of the Indian parliament require that the leader of the opposition must come from a party which exceeds 10% of seats in the lower house.

This position had not been occupied since 2014, the Congress party, the famous formation of the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty which has long dominated the political life of the country, not having reached this percentage due to two electoral setbacks against to the Hindu nationalist party of Narendra Modi.

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