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India's Modi elected as leader of coalition and set to form new government

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India's Modi elected as leader of coalition and set to form new government
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India's Modi elected as leader of coalition and set to form new government

2024-06-08 11:10 Last Updated At:11:20

NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday was formally elected leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most seats in the national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own.

The 73-year-old leader, who will be sworn in as prime minister on Sunday for a rare third term, will now form a coalition government.

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi displays a letter from the President of India, Draupadi Murmu, inviting him to form the next central government, outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday was formally elected leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most seats in the national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walks to address media at the forecourt of the Indian presidential palace after receiving a letter from the President of India, Draupadi Murmu, inviting him to form the next central government, in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walks to address media at the forecourt of the Indian presidential palace after receiving a letter from the President of India, Draupadi Murmu, inviting him to form the next central government, in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan after receiving a letter from the President of India, Draupadi Murmu, inviting him to form the next central government, in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan after receiving a letter from the President of India, Draupadi Murmu, inviting him to form the next central government, in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi displays a letter from the President of India, Draupadi Murmu, inviting him to form the next central government, outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi displays a letter from the President of India, Draupadi Murmu, inviting him to form the next central government, outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves the residence of the veteran senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Murli Manohar Joshi after paying him a visit, in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. PM Modi on Friday was formally elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most number of seats in the country's national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own. (AP Photo/Dinesh Joshi)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves the residence of the veteran senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Murli Manohar Joshi after paying him a visit, in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. PM Modi on Friday was formally elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most number of seats in the country's national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own. (AP Photo/Dinesh Joshi)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, second right, pays a visit to the veteran senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Murli Manohar Joshi, at his residence, in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. PM Modi on Friday was formally elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most number of seats in the country's national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own. (AP Photo/Dinesh Joshi)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, second right, pays a visit to the veteran senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Murli Manohar Joshi, at his residence, in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. PM Modi on Friday was formally elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most number of seats in the country's national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own. (AP Photo/Dinesh Joshi)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets supporters as he arrives at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters after the election results were announced, in New Delhi, India, June 4, 2024. PM Modi on Friday was formally elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most number of seats in the country’s national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own.(AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets supporters as he arrives at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters after the election results were announced, in New Delhi, India, June 4, 2024. PM Modi on Friday was formally elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most number of seats in the country’s national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own.(AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is garlanded by senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Rajnath Singh, left, party President JP Nadda, right, and Amit Shah, at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters after the election results were announced, in New Delhi, India, June 4, 2024. PM Modi on Friday was formally elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most number of seats in the country’s national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is garlanded by senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Rajnath Singh, left, party President JP Nadda, right, and Amit Shah, at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters after the election results were announced, in New Delhi, India, June 4, 2024. PM Modi on Friday was formally elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most number of seats in the country’s national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has governed India as part of the NDA coalition over the past decade, but this is the first time under his leadership that the party has needed support from its regional allies to form a government.

“This alliance of ours reflects India's spirit in its true sense,” Modi said after the BJP and coalition members backed him as their prime ministerial candidate. “We were neither defeated nor are we defeated ... it was an NDA government in the past, still is and will be,” he added.

Full results from India’s marathon election, which began in mid-April, were released Wednesday. The BJP won 240 seats, well below the 272 needed for a majority in a stunning outcome. Together, the parties in the NDA coalition bagged 293 seats in the 543-member lower house of parliament.

Meanwhile Modi's political challenger, the INDIA alliance led by the Congress party, put up a stronger-than-expected fight doubling its strength from the last election to win 232 seats.

Before Modi was formally elected as the NDA leader, local media reported that the two key regional allies which can make or break his coalition government — the Telugu Desam Party in southern Andhra Pradesh state and Janata Dal (United) in eastern Bihar state — were eyeing posts in important ministries, some of which the BJP have held so far.

On Thursday, the newly emboldened opposition ramped up pressure on Modi and the BJP. In a news conference, the Congress party's main campaigner Rahul Gandhi demanded a parliamentary investigation into what he called the “biggest stock market scam," alleging that Modi and other top BJP ministers misled retail investors who ended up losing money.

India's two main benchmark stock indexes hit new highs on Monday after exit polls predicted a BJP sweep, but dropped sharply on Tuesday to close down more than 5% as early vote figures trickled in.

In television interviews last month, Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah said the markets would surge when results were declared on June 4.

The BJP denied Gandhi's accusations of a ploy between the party and exit pollsters and accused the Congress leader of trying to discourage investors.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi displays a letter from the President of India, Draupadi Murmu, inviting him to form the next central government, outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi displays a letter from the President of India, Draupadi Murmu, inviting him to form the next central government, outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walks to address media at the forecourt of the Indian presidential palace after receiving a letter from the President of India, Draupadi Murmu, inviting him to form the next central government, in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walks to address media at the forecourt of the Indian presidential palace after receiving a letter from the President of India, Draupadi Murmu, inviting him to form the next central government, in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan after receiving a letter from the President of India, Draupadi Murmu, inviting him to form the next central government, in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan after receiving a letter from the President of India, Draupadi Murmu, inviting him to form the next central government, in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi displays a letter from the President of India, Draupadi Murmu, inviting him to form the next central government, outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi displays a letter from the President of India, Draupadi Murmu, inviting him to form the next central government, outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves the residence of the veteran senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Murli Manohar Joshi after paying him a visit, in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. PM Modi on Friday was formally elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most number of seats in the country's national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own. (AP Photo/Dinesh Joshi)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves the residence of the veteran senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Murli Manohar Joshi after paying him a visit, in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. PM Modi on Friday was formally elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most number of seats in the country's national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own. (AP Photo/Dinesh Joshi)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, second right, pays a visit to the veteran senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Murli Manohar Joshi, at his residence, in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. PM Modi on Friday was formally elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most number of seats in the country's national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own. (AP Photo/Dinesh Joshi)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, second right, pays a visit to the veteran senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Murli Manohar Joshi, at his residence, in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 7, 2024. PM Modi on Friday was formally elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most number of seats in the country's national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own. (AP Photo/Dinesh Joshi)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets supporters as he arrives at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters after the election results were announced, in New Delhi, India, June 4, 2024. PM Modi on Friday was formally elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most number of seats in the country’s national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own.(AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets supporters as he arrives at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters after the election results were announced, in New Delhi, India, June 4, 2024. PM Modi on Friday was formally elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most number of seats in the country’s national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own.(AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is garlanded by senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Rajnath Singh, left, party President JP Nadda, right, and Amit Shah, at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters after the election results were announced, in New Delhi, India, June 4, 2024. PM Modi on Friday was formally elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most number of seats in the country’s national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is garlanded by senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Rajnath Singh, left, party President JP Nadda, right, and Amit Shah, at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters after the election results were announced, in New Delhi, India, June 4, 2024. PM Modi on Friday was formally elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance coalition, which won the most number of seats in the country’s national election after his political party failed to win a majority on its own. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

CABOT, Pa. (AP) — A fire truck carried Corey Comperatore’s flag-draped casket to a Pennsylvania church on Friday for the funeral of the former fire chief, who was shot and killed when a gunman tried to assassinate former President Donald Trump last weekend.

Hundreds of firefighters arrived at the church in a procession of over 100 trucks in a show of support for Comperatore's grieving relatives and friends. Outside the church, a massive American flag hung from the ladder of a fire truck.

A sharpshooter team mounted on a nearby rooftop served as a reminder of last weekend's bloodshed. Officials have said that Comperatore spent his final moments shielding his wife and daughter from gunfire at Trump’s rally last Saturday in Butler, Pennsylvania.

Trump, who suffered an ear injury in the shooting but was not seriously hurt, is not going to the funeral because of Secret Service concerns, according to a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Annette Locke, a member of the West Deer Township Volunteer Fire Department, stood across the road from the church and lightly touched her heart as she spoke about the horrific toll from the “totally senseless" shooting.

“He was with his family on a beautiful sunny day, and now he’s gone,” Locke said.

Joe and Jen Brose stood at the edge of their driveway with their three young boys, all dressed in T-shirts celebrating the USA, watching the long procession of fire and emergency trucks go by.

“The community comes together at times like this,” Joe Brose said.

“I thought it was very heartwarming, it was very humbling to see it,” said Jen Brose, whose sister had attended the Trump rally.

Trump honored Comperatore during his speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. He displayed Comperatore's firefighting gear on the convention stage, kissing his helmet and heralding the ex-chief as “an unbelievable person.”

Comperatore, 50, worked as a project and tooling engineer, was an Army reservist and spent many years as a volunteer firefighter after serving as chief, according to his obituary.

On Thursday, thousands of mourners filed into a banquet hall to pay their respects to Comperatore and his family. Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday at a vigil for him at an auto racing track.

Guests at Thursday's visitation for Comperatore saw a slideshow of photos from his life — his wedding, a recent 50th birthday party, time with his daughters, firefighting, fishing, and palling around with his Dobermans. Also on display was a framed copy of a note to Comperatore’s wife signed by Trump and former first lady Melania Trump.

"Corey will forever be remembered as a True American Hero,” the Trumps wrote.

A statement issued Thursday by Comperatore's family described him as a “beloved father and husband, and a friend to so many throughout the Butler region.”

"Our family is finding comfort and peace through the heartfelt messages of encouragement from people around the world, through the support of our church and community, and most of all through the strength of God," the statement said.

Two other people were wounded at Trump's rally: David Dutch, 57, of New Kensington, and James Copenhaver, 74, of Moon Township. As of Wednesday night, both had been upgraded to serious but stable condition, according to a spokesperson with Allegheny Health Network.

The funeral procession for Corey Comperatore passes, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The funeral procession for Corey Comperatore passes, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The funeral procession for Corey Comperatore passes, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The funeral procession for Corey Comperatore passes, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Merri Cambo, left, of Saxonburg, Pa., and her friend, Jane Wesolosky, of Buffalo, Pa., react as the funeral procession for Corey Comperatore passes by, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Merri Cambo, left, of Saxonburg, Pa., and her friend, Jane Wesolosky, of Buffalo, Pa., react as the funeral procession for Corey Comperatore passes by, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The funeral procession for Corey Comperatore passes, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The funeral procession for Corey Comperatore passes, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

A flag is seen before the funeral procession for Corey Comperatore, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

A flag is seen before the funeral procession for Corey Comperatore, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The funeral procession for Corey Comperatore passes, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The funeral procession for Corey Comperatore passes, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The funeral procession for Corey Comperatore passes, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The funeral procession for Corey Comperatore passes, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

People wait for the funeral procession for Corey Comperatore, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

People wait for the funeral procession for Corey Comperatore, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Jane Wesolosky, of Buffalo, Pa., waves a flag as the funeral procession for Corey Comperatore passes, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Jane Wesolosky, of Buffalo, Pa., waves a flag as the funeral procession for Corey Comperatore passes, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

A giant American flag is unfurled outside the Cabot Church, in Cabot, Pa., Friday, July 19, 2024, before the funeral service for Buffalo Township Volunteer fireman Corey Comeratore, who was killed at a Pennsylvania rally for Donald Trump, Saturday, July 13, 2024. Corey Comperatore's quick decision to use his body as a shield against the bullets flying toward his wife and daughter rang true to the close friends and neighbors who loved and respected the proud 50-year-old Trump supporter, noting that the Butler County resident was a "man of conviction." (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

A giant American flag is unfurled outside the Cabot Church, in Cabot, Pa., Friday, July 19, 2024, before the funeral service for Buffalo Township Volunteer fireman Corey Comeratore, who was killed at a Pennsylvania rally for Donald Trump, Saturday, July 13, 2024. Corey Comperatore's quick decision to use his body as a shield against the bullets flying toward his wife and daughter rang true to the close friends and neighbors who loved and respected the proud 50-year-old Trump supporter, noting that the Butler County resident was a "man of conviction." (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Pennsylvania State Police arrive at the Cabot Church, in Cabot, Pa., Friday, July 19, 2024, before the funeral service for Buffalo Township Volunteer fireman Corey Comeratore, who was killed at a Pennsylvania rally for Donald Trump, Saturday, July 13, 2024. Corey Comperatore's quick decision to use his body as a shield against the bullets flying toward his wife and daughter rang true to the close friends and neighbors who loved and respected the proud 50-year-old Trump supporter, noting that the Butler County resident was a "man of conviction.". (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Pennsylvania State Police arrive at the Cabot Church, in Cabot, Pa., Friday, July 19, 2024, before the funeral service for Buffalo Township Volunteer fireman Corey Comeratore, who was killed at a Pennsylvania rally for Donald Trump, Saturday, July 13, 2024. Corey Comperatore's quick decision to use his body as a shield against the bullets flying toward his wife and daughter rang true to the close friends and neighbors who loved and respected the proud 50-year-old Trump supporter, noting that the Butler County resident was a "man of conviction.". (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

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