Modi starts term as India's 15th Prime Minister

  • Kumar Uttam and Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: May 27, 2014 12:34 IST
  • Narendra Modi is called up to take the oath of office to be sworn in as India's Prime Minister as his future cabinet ministers applaud ...

  • President Pranab Mukherjee greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi after administering him the oath at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. (PTI photo)

  • Narendra Modi pays tributes at Mahatma Gandhi's memorial ahead of his swearing-in as the 14th prime minister of India at the Rajghat. (EPA photo)

  • Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrives at AFS Palam to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister in New Delhi on Monday. ...

  • Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrives at AFS Palam to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister,  in New Delhi on Monday. ...

  • Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai arrives at AFS Palam to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI ...

  • Sushil Koirala, Prime Minister of Nepal  arrives at Ceremonial Lounge at  IGI Airport, Terminal-3 to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister ...

  • Navin Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of Mauritius  arrives at Ceremonial Lounge at  IGI Airport, Terminal-3 to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister ...

  • Narendra Modi meets with people after pays his respects at the Rajghat. (PTI photo)

  • Narendra Modi, prays at Rajghat, after he pays tributes at Mahatma Gandhi's memorial ahead of his swearing-in as the 14th prime minister of India at ...

India crowned Narendra Modi its Prime Minister on Monday at a glittering event attended by leaders from neighbouring countries, top politicians and holy men, and replete with symbolism and grandeur.

The 63-year-old Modi, neatly attired in a beige Nehru jacket, was sworn in by President Pranab Mukherjee 10 days after leading the National Democratic Alliance to a landslide win in the world’s biggest election.

The former RSS pracharak, who sold tea at a railway station as a young boy, showed no signs of emotion or nerves as he read out the oath of secrecy and signed the register, though there appeared to be genuine warmth in the greetings he exchanged with the President.


Narendra Modi takes charge as Prime Minister
Newly-appointed Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his swearing-in ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi (HT Photo/Ajay Aggarwal)

 

He had strode in as PM-designate at 6pm to a roar of “Modi, Modi”, incongruous to the solemnity of the occasion but underlining the rock-star status that he has achieved over the past few months.

“Together we will script a glorious future for India,” Modi said in a message on the PMO website that popped up minutes after he was sworn in.

Forty-five other members of the council of ministers were also sworn in, led by Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.

The youngest minister will be 38-year-old Smriti Irani, who once served at a McDonald’s outlet, and the oldest, 74-year-old Najma Heptulla, who is the only Muslim in the group. 


Video: Modi takes oath as Prime Minister




The audience of more than 4,000 was packed into the magnificent forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan, and included Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif — sitting next to outgoing PM Manmohan Singh — Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Nepal PM Sushil Koirala, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former presidents Abdul Kalam and Pratibha Patil and former PM Deve Gowda.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, blamed by some for the party’s disastrous showing at the polls, found a place only in the second row. BJP patriarch LK Advani, effectively sidelined by Modi during the campaign, was seated among the foreign dignatories.

The celebrity roster included actors Salman Khan and Dharmendra and cricketer Sunil Gavaskar. Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar had a front-row view.


In this handout photo from Rashtrapati Bhawan is seen Narendra Modi, on stage bottom, during his swearing-in as PM at the Rashrapati Bhawan in New Delhi (HT Photo)

Two of India’s richest men, the Ambani brothers, were both in attendance, as were other tycoons Shashi Ruia and Gautam Adani.

White, so beloved of Indian politicians, was the dominant colour, but was interrupted by considerable doses of saffron, the colour of Hindutva.

Modi’s mother, 92-year-old Hiraben, couldn’t make the trip, but watched on television from Gandhinagar. The rest of the family was also conspicuous by its absence.

 

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