The Union Council of Ministers on Tuesday met at the Bharatiya Janata Party's headquarters in New Delhi. The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. The BJP described the 'Aabhar Milan' meeting as an occasion to thank ministers for "their service to the nation" ahead of the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha election on May 23, following which a new government will assume charge.
The meeting came ahead of a dinner party being hosted by Shah in Delhi, which is also expected to double up as a strategy session - even though Sunday's exit polls predicted a comfortable victory for the BJP. Twelve of 14 exit polls predicted that the NDA will get full majority with seats ranging from 282 to 365. An aggregate of exit polls predicted the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will win 302 seats and the Congress and its allies 122. A party or an alliance needs 271 seats to form the government, as the elections were held on 542 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats.
Union Minister Rajnath Singh told reporters that 36 NDA allies were present at Amit Shah's dinner, adding that three NDA allies who did not make it to the dinner have assured their support in writing. At the meeting of Union Council of Ministers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi likened his campaign for this Lok Sabha election to a pilgrimage, saying it stood out from other polls as it was being fought by the people and not the party alone. "I have seen many elections but this one was beyond politics. Public was fighting them. I have campaigned in assembly elections and undertaken political tours for the party in different elections. When I toured during these polls, it seemed that I was on a pilgrimage," the prime minister was quoted as saying.
Besides Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley, J P Nadda and Prakash Javadekar are among the key leaders from the BJP at the meeting. Some ministers from BJP allies, including Ram Vilas Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party, Harsimrat Kaur Badal from the Akali Dal and Anupriya Patel of the Apna Dal, were also present in the meeting.