11 April, 2017
Hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership, 33 ruling NDA constituents, including Shiv Sena, on Monday vowed to contest the 2019 electoral battle under his leadership.
Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan of Lok Janshakti Party - suggested after the resolution was approved that the NDA should show determination for its further expansion and add more allies to strengthen it in the years to come.
The meeting also passed a resolution affirming its faith in the "bold and decisive" leadership of Modi. "The 32 partners representing every state itself demonstrates this", finance minister Arun Jaitley said, addressing a press conference along with Naidu.
The resolution heaped praise on the Modi government's performance and highlighted its pro-farmer and pro-poor works, besides its "foreign policy successes".
Naidu said NDA allies are committed to working in tandem to win the 2019 elections under Modi's leadership.
The BJP will look to ensure the support of its allies in the run up to the Presidential election, which it does not want to lose as it would not only result in a loss of face but also could put in office a person who does not see eye to eye with BJP. Replying to a question as to whether presidential election also came up for discussion, Jaitley said, "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. He said the issue of infrastructure was also discussed in the meeting. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti could not attend the meeting and a PDP representative deputised for her.
The party said that the NDA should consider Bhagwat's name for the post if the dream of a "Hindu Rashtra" has to be fulfilled.
The dinner meeting, that began a little before 8 pm, started with an address by BJP president Amit Shah and concluded with an address by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Besides, Shiv Sena, other parties including SAD, LJP and members of the North-East Democratic Alliance - Naga People's Front and Sikkim Democratic Front, are among few parties likely to attend the meeting.
Meanwhile, the controversy around former BJP MP Tarun Vijay's comments on South-North divide also seem to be helping Venkaiah Naidu in placing his candidature with a strong push. "That is why Modiji is to host the dinner", said sources from the party.