Narendra Damodardas Modi took oath as India’s 15th Prime Minister, along with 45 members of his Council of Ministers, on Monday in a culmination of a Lok Sabha election campaign that he led for the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, taking it to a stunning victory.
Dressed in a cream kurta and a fawn jacket, with a tricolour brooch on his lapel instead of the party’s Lotus symbol, Mr. Modi, overseen by President Pranab Mukherjee, took oath at a well-attended function in the decorated forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Mr. Modi received a standing ovation and was loudly cheered as he arrived for the swearing-in. Soon after he took oath, there was yet another round of resounding applause along with chants of Bharat Mata ki Jai ; Modi, Modi ; and a subdued Jai Shri Ram .
Minutes after he was sworn in a little past 6 p.m., he tweeted: “A big thank you to all friends who will be viewing the ceremony on TV and through social media. Your constant support & blessings mean a lot.”
As the sun went down over the dome of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the special invitees — Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaska, Prime Minister of Bhutan Lyonchen Tshering Tobgay, Bangladesh Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom — arrived to a loud applause.
They greeted the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and BJP patriarch L.K. Advani and joined the dignitaries in the front row, including Vice-President Hamid Ansari, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former President Pratibha Patil and Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha. All eyes were on Mr. Sharif as he walked to greet the Indian leaders.
Among the very first to reach the venue was Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who was followed by a stream of well-known faces from the world of business, sports and politics. Several MPs turned up in their traditional, colourful attires with elaborate headgears despite the oppressive heat.
This was the first time that the oath-taking ceremony was attended by not just over 5,000 guests but also dignitaries from eight SAARC nations and Mauritius. Also present were diplomats of various countries who were invited by the BJP to “participate in the culmination of the celebration of democracy.”
Mr. Modi’s swearing-in was followed by that of party president Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, M. Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Uma Bharati, Najma Heptullah, Gopinath Munde, Ramvilas Paswan, Kalraj Mishra, Maneka Gandhi, H.N. Ananth Kumar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati, Anant Geete, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Narendra Singh Tomar, Jual Oram, Radha Mohan Singh, Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Smriti Irani and Harsh Vardhan as Cabinet Ministers.
Ten Ministers of State (Independent charge) and 12 Ministers of State were sworn in. Prime Minister Modi and several of his colleagues will assume office on Tuesday.
Seen among the audience were Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and his wife Nita and two sons. His younger brother, Anil Ambani, and his family and their mother, Kokilaben, were present. Other industrialists who attended the ceremony included Hinduja group chairman Ashok Hinduja, Essar group chief Shashi Ruia and its chief executive officer Prashant Ruia, the Mittal brothers Sunil, Rajan and Rakesh, and Gujarat industrialist Gautam Adani.
From the world of sports cricketing legend Sunil Gavaskar and Indian cricket captain M.S. Dhoni were present.The new government did not immediately announce the portfolios for the new Ministers. But the allocations are likely to be as follows: Rajnath Singh Home; Arun Jaitley Finance, with additional charge of Defence; Sushma Swaraj External Affairs; Nitin Gadkari Surface Transport; Sadanand Gowda Railways; and Venkaiah Naidu Urban Development Ministry. Other portfolios being mentioned include Women and Child Development for Maneka Gandhi, Human Resource Development for Smriti Irani and Agriculture for Radha Mohan Singh. While Ravi Shankar Prasad may get Law and Justice along with Telecom, Ram Vilas Paswan is tipped for the Food and Civil Supplies portfolio. Nirmala Sitharaman is likely to get independent charge as Minister of State of the Commerce ministry. The lone Muslim face in the Modi Cabinet, Najma Heptullah, may get Minorities Affairs.
>>Editing error: The opening sentence of “Modi now India's 15th PM” (May 27, 2014) read: “Narendra Damodardas Modi took oath as India’s 15th Prime Minister, along with 44 members of his Council of Ministers, on Monday …” It should have said “along with 45 members of his Council of Ministers.”