India polls: Modi eyes top team as BJP sweeps to victory

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Amit Shah (R) and Ravi Shankar Prasad (L) greet supporters as they celebrate victory at their party's headquarters in New Delhi on May 16, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Amit Shah (R) and Ravi Shankar Prasad (L) greet supporters as they celebrate victory at their party's headquarters in New Delhi on May 16, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - The Bharatiya Janata Party's landslide election victory will usher in a new government expected to steer India sharply to the right after 10 years of rule by the leftist Congress party.

Incoming premier Narendra Modi has never been in government at national level after spending the last 13 years as chief minister of Gujarat state.

The following is a list of some of the men and women who are likely to emerge as key players in the new Modi administration:

Amit Shah

Modi's most trusted aide, Mr Shah is tipped to become his boss's cabinet enforcer with a post in the Prime Minister's Office.

Their association dates back to the 1980s when they were both part of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a volunteer Hindu nationalist organisation that is seen as the ideological fountainhead of the BJP.

A portly and bearded 50-year-old, Mr Shah is highly regarded by Mr Modi as a political strategist and was in charge of the BJP's campaign in the electorally crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.

However Mr Shah is tainted by allegations from his tenure as home minister in Gujarat, including claims that he masterminded extra-judicial killings. He denies all charges.

Sushma Swaraj

Ms Swaraj is the current leader of the opposition in the lower house of parliament and the BJP's most senior woman leader. Now aged 62, she became India's youngest cabinet minister in 1977 after the end of Indira Gandhi's emergency government.

A fiery orator, Ms Swaraj was one of the few BJP leaders to oppose publicly Mr Modi's elevation as the party's prime ministerial candidate.

While some analysts have predicted that she could be made to pay for her apparent disloyalty, others say she is too senior for Modi to snub and could become foreign minister.

Rajnath Singh

BJP president and arguably the most high-ranking member leader of the party after Mr Modi, Mr Singh is a former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and has previously served as federal agriculture minister.

Mr Singh, 62, has been tipped to become Modi's next home minister and was one of a handful of BJP leaders to be invited to talks with his prospective new boss in Gujarat after the end of voting on Monday.

Like Mr Modi and Mr Shah, he also rose through the ranks of the RSS and was a physics lecturer before becoming a politician.