Updated: May 30, 2019 2:52:46 am
United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi will attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony tomorrow. The grand event will take place at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Sonia Gandhi’s decision to attend PM Modi’s swearing-in ceremony is significant especially after a bitter Lok Sabha election campaign that saw BJP and Congress trading relentless barbs at each other. The election results though came as a huge setback for the Congress party which reduced the grand old party to just 52 seats.
Confirming the news, senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told news agency ANI, “Congress party will attend the oath-taking ceremony for sure. Elections were a matter between two ideologies, two parties but the oath ceremony is of a Prime Minister. PM is of the entire country. We expect him to treat all people of the country equally.”
BJP won 303 seats on May 23 and made significant gains in the states of West Bengal and Odisha. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has won 352 seats. The BJP had contested 436 seats in this Lok Sabha election. In the 303 seats where its candidates won, the average number of votes was 6.35 lakh.
The poll debacle led to Congress president Rahul Gandhi offering to resign from the post of party chief. He is also known to have blamed senior party leaders for the loss in the recent polls.
Meanwhile, the guest list for PM Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, according to officials, includes visiting heads of state from BIMSTEC countries, the Kyrgyz Republic and Mauritius, and political leaders, diplomats, chief ministers, academics, writers, celebrities, sportspeople, film personalities and achievers. The one notable absentee from last time will be the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
The Ministry of External Affairs confirmed the participation of Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Kyrgyz Republic President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, Myanmar President U Win Myint, Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering and Thailand’s Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Grisada Boonrach as a special envoy.
Besides this, the BJP has sent invites to a number of opposition leaders for the event. All eyes will also be on the participation of NDA partners — Shiv Sena, JDU, LJP, Akali Dal and AIADMK — who were given pride of place on the dais during the NDA Parliamentary Party meeting.
The ceremony will be followed by a vegetarian High Tea for guests and a small private banquet hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind for visiting dignitaries where Dal Raisina, an in-house innovation that takes 48 hours to cook, will be served.
This is the fourth time that a Prime Minister will be sworn-in at the forecourt. The preferred swearing-in venue usually is the Durbar Hall. The only two other Prime Ministers, who have been sworn-in with the grand Rashtrapati Bhavan edifice as a backdrop, are AB Vajpayee and Chandrashekhar.
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