PM Modi, 57-member team of ministers begin second innings
PM Modi’s senior-most minister Rajnath Singh took oath immediately after him, followed by Amit Shah, BJP president.Updated: May 31, 2019 09:24 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Narendra Modi was today sworn in as India’s Prime Minister for a second term in the presence of foreign leaders, top politicians and spiritual leaders at a ceremony loaded with symbolism and grandeur. PM Modi, 68, strode into the forecourt of the majestic Presidential palace, Rashtrapati Bhawan, just a little before 7 pm to a roar of applause.
The Prime Minister, who wore a beige Nehru jacket, was sworn in by President Ram Nath Kovind just before sunset. His senior-most minister Rajnath Singh took oath immediately after him, followed by Amit Shah, BJP president. The national elections that Modi fronted along with master strategist Amit Shah delivered the Bharatiya Janata Party’s best-ever performance with 303 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha earlier this month.
Among others who have taken oath as ministers in the 58-strong central council of ministers are BJP leaders Nitin Gadkari and DV Sadananda Gowda, ex-foreign secretary S Jaishankar and Nirmala Sitharaman.
BJP president and a confidant of PM Modi for two decades, Amit Shah, was the big entry in the new cabinet and is likely to be assigned the finance portfolio. Arun Jaitley, the finance minister in the outgoing government, had ruled himself out of the government due to health reasons.
Later in the evening, Modi described his team as “a blend of youthful energy and administrative experience”
“Honoured to serve India!,” PM Modi said in a message on Twitter that popped up as the ceremony began.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who has been insistent on stepping down from the party’s top post after leading it to a crushing defeat in the national election, was also at PM Modi’s swearing-in ceremony. Seated next to him on the front row is mother, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.
BJP veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi are also seated with former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was also present.
PM Modi had first moved the oath ceremony in 2014 from one of the ceremonial halls in the presidential palace to the magnificent forecourt to accommodate an audience in thousands, not a few hundred.
Today, there was an audience of more than 6,000 and included leaders of BIMSTEC countries, Prime Minister of Mauritius and President of Kyrgystan. BIMSTEC member-states are Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand , Nepal and Bhutan.
PM Modi had again used his oath ceremony to signal the direction of his foreign policy when New Delhi invited leaders of BIMSTEC countries that covers all countries in India’s neighbourhood minus Pakistan.
First Published: May 30, 2019 19:42 IST