How the BJP finally made it
The sequence of events that led to Bharatiya Janata Party leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee being appointed prime minister:
March 3: The BJP and its allies emerge the single largest group in the Lok Sabha, winning 252 seats in the 539-member House. Four Haryana Lok Dal MPs also extend support to Vajpayee.
March 4: Jayalalitha's AIADMK and Mamata Bannerjee's Trinamul Congress decide to back a BJP government from outside. All eyes on which way the Telugu Desam Party will lean.
March 6: The BJP decides to drop contentious issues and forms panel with allies to work out 'national agenda'.
March 7: Atal Bihari Vajpayee elected leader of the BJP parliamentary party.
March 8: Congress and most United Front vacillate on forming a government together. Lakshmi Parvathi of the TDP-NTR calls off pact with the BJP.
March 9: Jayalalitha demands that if the BJP comes to power, it should dismiss the DMK government in Tamil Nadu. Kesri says he will quit as Congress president, Sonia Gandhi reportedly next in line.
March 10: President K R Narayanan asks Vajpayee to show proof of support -- letters from his allies. The United Front asks Naidu to reconsider stand on opposing any Congress-aided government.
March 11: AIADMK and other Jayalalitha allies, still hold back letters of support. Ten more MPs back Vajpayee.
March 12: Jayalalitha imposes conditions for support, claims the BJP's attitude is discouraging. Vajpayee submits documentary proof of support from 240 MPs to the President, who reserves judgement till March 14. The BJP leader says he will not bow to pressure from the AIADMK. The President invites Kesri, UF leaders for discussions.
March 13: The President meets Janata Dal leader Vishwanath Pratap Singh, BSP leader Kanshi Ram, Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, former prime minister Chandra Shekhar and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Laloo Prasad Yadav. Advani talks to Jayalalitha.
March 14: Jayalalitha sends letter of support to BJP government to the President, but accuses the BJP of being 'indifferent' to Tamil Nadu's interests. The AIADMK and its allies decides to support the BJP from outside and boycott Vajpayee's swearing-in ceremony. Sonia Gandhi takes over as Congress president. Kesri remains defiant, says his removal is illegal.
March 15: AIADMK and two of its allies decides to join the BJP government. New Congress president Sonia Gandhi says her party lacks the numbers to form a government and so would sit in the Opposition. The President invites Vajpayee to form the government, gives him 10 days to prove his majority. Vajpayee will be sworn-in on Thursday, March 19.
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