Written by 09:25 World

The New Kingmakers Who Could Make or Break Modi’s Government

After his first two national election victories, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India easily set his own terms, with his Bharatiya Janata Party winning clear majorities.

The result was different in this vote. It was still a victory, but one that left him dependent on a host of coalition partners — particularly on politicians from two regional parties who could make or break Mr. Modi’s ability to form a government.

Of the more than a dozen parties that make up the B.J.P.’s coalition, known as the National Democratic Alliance, most won just one or two seats, leaving the party in a difficult predicament.

On Wednesday, the B.J.P. said it had reached an agreement to form a coalition government that includes those two regional parties — the Telugu Desam Party and Janata Dal-United. They will be the biggest junior partners, but they are also avowedly secular and removed from Mr. Modi’s Hindu-nationalist ideology.

Cameras on Wednesday followed every word, meeting and movement of the leaders of the two parties, N. Chandrababu Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party, and Nitish Kumar of Janata Dal-United. Their combined 28 seats in Parliament will give the prime minister the votes he needs to stay in power and push through his agenda.

Here is what to know about the men who unexpectedly found themselves as kingmakers, and about the parties they lead.

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Last modified: 6 June 2024
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