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Momentous day

Momentous day
Highlights

Narendra Modi Sworn-in As 15th Prime Minister: Momentous Day. The occasion was ceremonial but it was a carnival atmosphere as Narendra Modi was sworn in as India’s 15th Prime Minister before the largest-ever gathering at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Together we’ll script a glorious future for India: Modi’s first message to nation

  • Modi sworn in along with 45 ministers
  • Rajnath, Jaitley, Sushma, Gadkari get key posts
  • Advani, M M Joshi, Shourie, Yashwant left out
  • SAARC leadars, including Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif, make it historic
  • Audience chants Modi, Modi and shouts slogans of Bharat Mata Ki Jai as Modi takes the oath

New Delhi: The occasion was ceremonial but it was a carnival atmosphere as Narendra Modi was sworn in as India’s 15th Prime Minister before the largest-ever gathering at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, which became a confluence of people as varied as Presidents, Prime Ministers, film stars, corporate and religious leaders.

Never before have well over 4000 people gathered in the forecourt of the majestic Presidential house as they did today to watch the change of guard from Manmohan Singh to the man from Gujarat for whom the oath-taking ceremony was the culmination of a breathtaking political journey.

The heat did not deter the Modi admirers who had come hours ahead of the ceremony. There were a few fans to cool them but they mostly depended on their invitation cards to generate some breeze till the sun set and made it bearable. 'Modi, Modi' up went the chants when the PM-designate arrived shortly before 6 pm as if this was yet another of his election gatherings that the nation had witnessed over the past many months. Before Modi arrived, his special guests from abroad--Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, Nepal PM Sushil Koirala, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and other SAARC leaders--had taken their front-row seats. As each name was announced there were cheers, the loudest being reserved for the Pakistani leader.

In his first message after taking the oath, Prime Minister Modi said, “Together we will script a glorious future for India. Let us together dream of a strong, developed and inclusive India that actively engages with the global community to strengthen the cause of world peace and development.”

Anita Saluja from our Bureau reports: Narendra Damodar Das Modi (63) was sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India along with his 45 ministerial colleagues, most of whom belonged to the younger generation, who were made Ministers of State with independent charge. It left no one in doubt that Modi will have a direct control in the functioning of their ministries and his office will work as a super PMO.

Veterans like L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha did not find a place in the Cabinet signalling the coming of age of the new order in the BJP. As compared to Manmohan Singh’s Cabinet of 70, which had 29 Cabinet Ministers, 12 Ministers-of-State (MOS) with Independent charge and 29 MoS, Modi has downsized it to 46, with 24 Ministers in the Cabinet, 10 MoS with Independent Charge and 12 MoS, living up to his promise of minimum government and maximum governance.

Besides SAARC leaders, leading industrialists like Gautam Adani, Ambani brothers, religious leaders including VHP seers like Pejawar Mutt Swami, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and political leaders cutting across party lines were present.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi and outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were also present besides a strong presence of Bollywood stars like Salman Khan, Shatrughan Sinha, Roshans, Vivek Oberoi, Hema Malini and her husband Dharmendra and others.

As the name of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Damodar Das Modi was announced, there was all-round applause with the BJP leaders shouting slogans of “Bharat Mata ki Jai.” The Prime Minister, who looked jovial, seeing the massive crowd, as he arrived, took the oath in Hindi, with his voice choked, as he turned emotional.

After him, BJP President Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, M Venkaiah Naidu, D V Sadanand Gowda, Uma Bharati, Najma Heptullah, Gopinath Munde, Ram Vilas Paswan, Kalraj Mishra, Maneka Gandhi, Ananth Kumar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ashok Gajapati Raju, Anant Geete, Harsimrat Kaur Badal,Narendra Singh Tomar, Jual Oram, Radha Mohan Singh, Thawar Chand Gehlot, Smriti Irani and Harsh Vardhan took the oath as Cabinet Ministers.

All the heavy-weights in the BJP have got key portfolios with Arun Jaitley, despite having lost elections from Amritsar emerging as an important person getting the Ministries of Finance, Corporate Affairs and Defence. BJP President Rajnath Singh is the new Home Minister, and Number 2 in the Modi’s cabinet. Sushma Swaraj has got her favourite Ministry of External affairs, while Najma Heptullah (74) has been given the Minority Affair portfolio. She is the lone Muslim Minister in the 45-member Modi Cabinet, the oldest among the lot while Smriti Irani (38) is the youngest. Former BJP President Nitin Gadkari has secured the Ministry of Transport and Shipping, thanks to his proximity to the RSS. Similar is the case of another RSS man Radha Mohan Singh, who heads the Agriculture Ministry. Likewise Sanyasin Uma Bharati has got her favourite Ministry of Water and Ganga cleaning. Ravi Shankar Prasad is the new Law and Telecom Minister who will take the call on the action to be taken against Robert Vadra and others for the various scams. M Venkaiah Naidu is Urban Affairs Minister, who has also been given the charge of Parliamentary Affairs portfolio. Ananth Kumar, a fifth-time MP, who defeated Nandan Nilekani from Bangalore South, is the Chemicals & Fertilisers Minister. Sadanand Gowda is the new Railways Minister, while Dharmendra Pradhan heads the Petroleum Ministry. Modi has chosen Maneka Gandhi rather than her son Varun to be included in the Cabinet. She gets the portfolio of Women & Child Welfare.

Known to have his own way, Modi has given preference to his loyalists by including Smriti Irani, who lost from Amethi against Rahul Gandhi, making her the full-fledged HRD Minister. Nirmala Sitharaman, who is a new-comer to politics is the Commerce Minister, Piyush Goyal is the Power and Coal Minister. Modi, apparently, has preferred intellectuals while forming his Council of Ministers rather than going merely by the seniority and the loyalty of a person to the party.

Rao Inderjit Singh, who deserted the Congress to join the BJP has also been accommodated and given an Independent portfolio of Statistics & Planning, besides being made MoS in efence. The prestigious post of Information & Broadcasting Minister has gone to the BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar. He also gets Environment Ministry.

The Allies have got a raw deal in Modi’s Cabinet, primarily because there was no need for accommodating them in the Cabinet as the BJP has secured an absolute majority of its own. LJP Chief Ram Vilas Paswan has got Food and Civil Supplies, while SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur, who is the daughter-in-law of Punjab Chief Minister Prakash SinghBadal, has been given the Food Processing Ministry. TDP leader P Ashok Gajapati Raju heads the Civil Aviation Ministry. Anant Geete from the Shiv Sena has got Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises portfolio.

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