Narendra Damodardas Modi was sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India on Thursday by President Ram Nath Kovind on the sprawling forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Besides Modi, the President appointed the Prime Minister’s council of ministers which included Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Nitin Gadkari, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Ram Vilas Paswan, Smriti Irani among others. A total of 24 cabinet ministers and as many ministers of states along with nine ministers of states with independent charge took the oath of office and secrecy.
Modi, who served as chief minister of Gujarat for 13 years, assumed the coveted position for a second consecutive term after being elected to Parliament from Varanasi with a landslide margin of over 4 lakh votes. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under the leadership of Modi mounted a mammoth electoral campaign in the Lok Sabha election and won a staggering 303 seats, while the National Democratic Alliance clinched 352 seats.
68-year-old Modi, who is a seasoned politician has his roots intact in the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). This was the second time when Modi took the oath of office on the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Earlier, Chandra Shekhar in 1990 and Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999 were sworn in at the sprawling forecourt.
The prime minister before taking oath visited the National War Memorial at India Gate and paid his homage to the martyrs, following which he held a meeting with his council of ministers in his residence at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg.
57 Council of Ministers sworn in
Cabinet Ministers: The President administered the oath of office to 24 cabinet ministers which include Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, DV Sadananda Gowda, Nirmala Sitharaman, Ram Vilas Paswan, Narendra Singh Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Thawarchand Gehlot, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Arjun Munde, Smriti Irani, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Prakash Javdekar, Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Prahlad Joshi, Mahendra Nath Pandey, Arvind Sawant, Giriraj Singh and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
Ministers of states: The President also administered the oath of office to 24 ministers of states which include Faggansingh Kulaste, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Arjun Ram Meghwal, V. K. Singh, Krishan Pal, Danve Raosaheb Dadarao, G. Kishan Reddy, Parshottam Rupala, Ramdas Athawale, Niranjan Jyoti, Babul Supriyo, Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Dhotre Sanjay Shamrao, Anurag Singh Thakur, Angadi Suresh Channabasappa, Nityanand Rai, Rattan Lal Kataria, V. Muraleedharan, Renuka Singh Saruta, Som Parkash, Rameswar Teli, Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Kailash Choudhary, Debasree Chaudhuri.
Union Ministers of State, Independent Charge: Nine Union Ministers of State were also appointed by the President and these include Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Rao Inderjit Singh, Shripad Yesso Naik, Dr Jitendra Singh, RK Singh, Kiren Rijiju, Prahlad Singh Patel, Hardeep Singh Puri and Mansukh Mandaviya.
Meanwhile, notable omissions in the new Modi cabinet include Sushma Swaraj, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Suresh Prabhu, JP Nadda, Radha Mohan Singh and Maneka Gandhi who held important portfolios in the previous term.
While the portfolio of the newly appointed union ministers is yet to be announced, based on the protocol, Rajnath Singh is likely to retain Home ministry while first-time parliamentarian Amit Shah will possibly get Finance. A new entrant in the Cabinet is S Jaishankar who also took the oath of office along with Modi. Jaishankar, a career diplomat has been credited with forming the crux of Modi’s foreign policy in his first term.
BIMSTEC leaders attend swearing-in ceremony
The swearing-in ceremony, one of the grandest events of Indian democracy, was held in the presence of leaders of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) nations, along with dignitaries from across the world. President of Bangladesh Abdul Hamid, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, President of Myanmar U Win Myint and Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering attended the gala event. From Thailand, it’s Special Envoy Grisada Boonrach represented his country. Kyrgyz President and current chair of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, and Mauritius PM Pravind Kumar Jugnauth also attended Modi’s swearing-in.
Over 8000 in attendance
In what is being called one of the biggest events at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, over 8000 people attended the Modi’s swearing-in. Top opposition leaders including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, corporate leaders, film stars, chief ministers and a common people attended the event. Former president Pratibha Patil also graced the event. The BJP had also invited kins of party workers killed in West Bengal, who were seated in the ceremony.
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, Essar Director Prashant Ruia, Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran, Vedanta Chairman Anil Aggarwal and HDFC Deepak Parekh walked in for the grand ceremony. Mukesh Ambani came with wife Neeta and youngest son Anant.