Narendra Modi takes oath as Gujarat CM | india | Hindustan Times
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Narendra Modi takes oath as Gujarat CM

Modi, who led the BJP to a historic third consecutive victory in Gujarat, is sworn in as CM for the third time.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2007 20:15 IST

Narendra Damodardas Modi, who led the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to a historic third consecutive victory in Gujarat, was on Tuesday sworn in as chief minister for the third time at a grand ceremony here.

Governor Naval Kishore Sharma administered the oath of office and secrecy at 1.50 pm to Modi, who was dressed in his trademark half-sleeved khadi kurta and saffron angavastram and took the oath in Gujarati.

At the end of the formal ceremony, he bowed to the thousands of BJP supporters who had filled the 40,000-capacity Sardar Patel Stadium in the heart of this main city of Gujarat.

He also greeted BJP president Rajnath Singh, followed by veteran party leader and his mentor LK Advani, bending in respect and getting a hug in response.

It was Advani's 1990 cross-country rath yatra to campaign for a Ram temple in Ayodhya that gave a fillip to Hindu nationalist politics in India - Modi was among the key organisers of the march.

Also present on the occasion were senior BJP leaders, including Murli Manohar Joshi and former vice president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders like George Fernandes as well as BJP chief ministers - Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan, Shivraj Singh Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh and Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh - attended too.

However, former prime minister and senior-most BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whose birthday was chosen as the day for the ceremony, could not attend.

The glamour quotient was provided by cricketer-turned-parliamentarian Navjot Singh Sidhu, TV star and BJP leader Smriti Irani and actor Mukesh Khanna.

All 116 newly elected BJP legislators were also present on the occasion.

Modi had arrived at the venue 20 minutes ahead of the schedule amid bursting of crackers and frenzied supporters greeting him with slogans like "Modi Zindabad" and "Dekho Dekho Kaun Aaya, Gujarat ke Sher Aaya" (See who has come, the lion of Gujarat).

Many were wearing t-shirts with photographs of the man who has come to be known as poster boy of Hindutva. The stadium, venue of international cricket matches before a new stadium came up on the outskirts of the city in 1982, turned saffron as many waved BJP flags.

Following earlier intelligence of input to a threat to Modi, extra security measures were in place at the venue as well as his route from capital Gandhinagar to here.

In closely watched state assembly elections this month, the BJP won 117 seats, maintaining its nearly continuous hold over the state since 1995, with the victory largely credited to Modi.