Narendra Modi begins his second term as India’s prime minister

Photo of Narendra Modi begins his second term as India’s prime minister
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Narendra Modi today (May 30) took oath as India’s prime minister in a spectacular ceremony, kicking off his second straight term following a massive win in the national elections held in April-May.

President Ramnath Kovind administered the oath of office and secrecy to him at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, in New Delhi. Modi was dressed in his trademark white pyjama kurta and a grey Modi jacket. The event, which began at around 7pm under sultry weather, was attended by over 8,000 guests, with around 10,000 security personnel specially deployed in and around the venue.

Like in 2014 when Modi took office, the swearing-in ceremony was held in the spacious forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan—a break from the tradition followed by his predecessors who were all sworn-in indoors. The majestic venue was spruced up further to showcase the event as a grand one, complete with red carpets, flower decks, and illumination.

Modi’s chosen council of 58 ministers, who collectively will form India’s new government, also took their oaths. However, their administrative portfolios have not been disclosed yet. The previous Modi government had 66 ministers.

India’s new council of ministers
1 Rajnath Singh
2 Amit Shah
3 Nitin Gadkari
4 DV Sadananda Gowda
5 Nirmala Sitharaman
6 Ram Vilas Paswan
7 Narendra Singh Tomar
8 Ravi Shankar Prasad
9 Harsimrat Kaur Badal
10 Thaawar Chand Gehlot
11 S Jaishankar
12 Ramesh Pokhriyal
13 Arjun Munda
14 Smriti Irani
15 Harsh Vardhan
16 Prakash Javadekar
17 Piyush Goyal
18 Dharmendra Pradhan
19 Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
20 Pralhad Joshi
21 Mahendra Nath Pandey
22 Arvind Ganpat Sawant
23 Giriraj Singh
24 Gajendra Singh Shekhawat
25 Santosh Kumar Gangwar
26 Rao Inderjit Singh
27 Shripad Yesso Naik
28 Jitendra Singh
29 Kiren Rijiju
30 Prahalad Singh Patel
31 Raj Kumar Singh
32 Hardeep Singh Puri
33 Mansukh L Mandaviya
34 Faggansingh Kulaste
35 Ashwini Kumar Choubey
36 Arjun Ram Meghwal
37 VK Singh
38 Krishan Pal Gurjar
39 Danve Raosaheb Dadarao
40 G Kishan Reddy
41 Parshottam Rupala
42 Ramdas Athawale
43 Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti
44 Babul Supriyo
45 Sanjeev Kumar Balyan
46 Dhotre Sanjay Shamrao
47 Anurag Singh Thakur
48 Angadi Suresh Channabasappa
49 Nityanand Rai
50 Rattan Lal Kataria
51 V Muraleedharan
52 Renuka Singh Saruta
53 Som Parkash
54 Rameshwar Teli
55 Pratap Chandra Sarangi
56 Kailash Choudhary

Among major overall changes to the council are the addition of Amit Shah, president of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who had not been a part of the previous government. A key absence was that of Arun Jaitley, Modi’s finance minister in his previous term. Jaitley had declined any position this time. Sushma Swaraj, former foreign minister did not contest the election this year, citing personal reasons. Though she could still have been made a minister this time, she wasn’t on the list.

The swearing-in ceremony this evening was attended by a host of dignitaries, both Indian and foreign.

Prominent leaders of the Indian National Congress, the main opposition party, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, party president Rahul Gandhi, and his mother, former chief Sonia Gandhi, were seated in the the front row. However, state chief ministers such as Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Naveen Patnaik (Odisha), and Amarinder Singh (Punjab) missed the event.

Among attendees were family members of paramilitary personnel killed in Pulwama attack in the state of Jammu & Kashmir weeks before the election. The bombing by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group killed over 40 paramilitary personnel, fuelling anger and a nationalist undercurrent across the country that gave Modi’s campaign a considerable push.

Among foreign dignitaries were Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena and Nepal’s prime minister KP Sharma Oli. Modi’s oath-taking ceremony in 2014 included then Pakistan prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, among the guests. This time, though, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan has not been invited this time.

Leaders of member countries of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation—Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand , Nepal and Bhutan—were invited for the event this time. This was viewed as a fresh diplomatic outreach by Modi. However, not all these countries sent their top leaders for the ceremony.

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