Modi concedes defeat in state elections, says Govt ready to discuss important issues

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NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi conceded defeat on Tuesday for his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in key state elections held ahead of national polls next year. “We accept the people’s mandate with humility. I thank the people of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan for giving us the opportunity to serve these states. The BJP Governments in these states worked tirelessly for the welfare of the people,” Modi said on Twitter.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi at an all party meeting, ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on December 10, 2018.

Initial results Tuesday from elections earlier this month and in November showed the BJP losing power in the central state of Chhattisgarh and in Rajasthan in the west. The chief ministers from both states, both from Modi’s BJP, conceded defeat, while in Madhya Pradesh the outcome was on a knife-edge.

They form part of the “Hindi Belt” or “Cow Belt” region of around 475 million people —more than the United States, Canada and Mexico combined — where the right-wing BJP has its core support base.

The elections were seen as a dry run for national polls due to be held before May 2019 when Modi will run for a second term in office. His likely challenger will be Rahul Gandhi from the Congress party, scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, whose position was bolstered by Tuesday’s results.

Narendra Modi Tuesday told an all-party meet that the Government was ready to discuss all issues of national importance in the Winter session of Parliament as the Congress asserted that the opposition will press for a JPC probe into the Rafale jet deal.
NDA ally Shiv Sena also pitched for a law on construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya during the meeting, attended by floor leaders of various political parties from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, and convened by the Government a day ahead of the Winter session.
Asserting that Government is always receptive to the issues raised by parties, the Prime Minister said the Government and the opposition have to cooperate with each other so that Parliament functions smoothly which is in public interest.
Briefing reporters on the nearly two-hour long meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said all parties were in favour of a productive session and the Government is always ready to discuss any issue as permitted under rules.
Shiv Sena representative in the meeting Chandrakant Khaire said his party would not allow Parliament to function if the Government does not bring bill for construction of Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhaya. The Sena has 18 members in Lok Sabha and three in Rajya Sabha.