May 26, 2014, 12:00 pm – BY S VENKAT NARAYAN Our Special Correspondent – Courtesy: The Island.
Newly sworn Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy Narendra Modi is expected to appoint 25-member Cabinet and 20 State Ministers. The names of the Cabinet members and other ministers had not been released to the media until this edition went to press.
Meanwhile, Indo Asia News Service reported that Modi was on Monday set to take oath of office as 15th prime Minister along with some 45 Ministers, including key leaders Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, sources said, adding that the list has been dispatched to Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The sources said about 25 of these Ministers were slated for Cabinet ranks and the remaining would figure in the list of those with the rank of Minister of State with Independent charge and Minister of State.
NEW DELHI, May 26: A one-time tea vendor from a poor family in Gujarat, the birthplace of India’s liberator Mahatma Gandhi and Pakistan’s founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah, tonight gatecrashed into history books.
Narendra Modi, destiny’s child out to change India’s own destiny, was sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy tonight by President Pranab Mukherjee in the forecourt of the majestic Rashtrapati Bhavan in the presence of over four thousand specially invited guests.
The guests included three presidents and four prime ministers from neighbouring countries as well as Mauritius, Bollywood superstars, business tycoons, cabinet ministers, parliamentarians, and chief ministers, among others. Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi, and party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, outgoing Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh were present at the ceremony.
This is possibly the biggest ever event staged in India’s capital for a prime ministerial swearing in ceremony in the forecourt of the British-built Rashtrapati Bhavan since it began to be used since 1932. It did not exist during the Durbars of 1877, 1903 and 1911. All the three great events were held at Coronation Park beyond the Red Fort.
Construction of the Rashtrapati Bhavan began only after King George V announced the shifting of British India’s capital from Calcutta (now Kolkata) to New Delhi at his coronation as the Emperor of India in 1911.
From tonight for the next five years, the 63-year-old Modi will be in charge of the destiny of 1.25 billion Indians, who account for nearly a fifth of the human race. On May 16, the day he rode to power, he had said he will need 10 years to make the 21st century India’s century.
As such, what he does and what India does under his leadership may have a lasting impact in Asia in particular and the world at large.
Modi is the first man born in free India to lead the country. Since the country became free in 1947, he is also the first non-Congressman to win an absolute majority for his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and come to power by single-handedly fighting a challenging parliamentary election.
And he happens to be the first prime minister from a backward community which is at the bottom of India’s oppressive social ladder. All the previous prime ministers have been either Brahmins or from other high castes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take oath along with 44 other ministers, comprising 23 ministers of Cabinet rank, 10 Ministers of State with Independent Charge and 11 Ministers of State.
He began the day with paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi at his samadhi at Rajghat, and went to ailing former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to seek his blessings. Vajpayee was India’s first BJP prime minister during 1998-2004.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, President Abdulla Gayoom of The Maldives, Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam of Mauritius, and President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai arrived here today to attend the swearing-in ceremony.
Bhutan Prime Minister Lyonchen Tshering Tobgay and Speaker of Bangladesh Shirin Chaudhry, who is representing her Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, arrived on Sunday. Sheikh Hasina is currently in Japan on a state visit.
Before leaving Islamabad, Nawaz Sharif said: "Pakistan wants good relations with India and I am going to New Delhi with a ‘message of peace.’ "
MDMK leader Vaiko, who held a demonstration at Jantar Mantar here to protest against President Rajapaksa attending the ceremony. He was detained and taken away. The MDMK is an ally of the BJP-led 30-party National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
By ignoring protests by his allies in Tamil Nadu as well as state Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa, Modi has made it known that he will not countenance interference from any regional parties in running the country’s foreign policy. Jayalalithaa is among a handful of regional leaders who stayed away from the swearing-in because of Rajapaksa’s presence at the event. OVER