Dream of developed India: PM Modi's first message

New Delhi: Narendra Damodardas Modi (63), who led BJP to an astounding victory in the Lok Sabha polls, was administered oath of office by President Pranab Mukherjee at a glittering ceremony attended by around 4,000 guests including outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi, besides leaders of various other parties and Chief Ministers of a number of states.

Never before have well over 4,000 people gathered in the forecourt of the majestic Presidential house as they did to watch the change of guard from Manmohan Singh to Narendra Modi

Seconds after Modi was sworn-in as the 15th Prime Minister of the country, he sought people’s support and participation for India’s journey to newer heights of development. The PMO website was relaunched carrying his message and pictures.

Narendra Modi while taking oath
Narendra Modi while taking oath

“As we devote ourselves to take India's development journey to newer heights, we seek your support, blessings and active participation,” Modi said in his first message on the website. He added, “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.”

A profile was uploaded (www.pmindia.nic.in) which described him as “dynamic, dedicated and determined” leader who “arrives as a ray of hope in the lives of a billion Indians”. It said that his “laser focus on development and his proven ability” to deliver results have made him one of India’s most popular leaders. Without naming the RSS, it said that from a very young age, Modi immersed himself in service to the nation, working with “patriotic organisations”.

VVIPs brave heat
Dozens of pedestal fans lining the seating arrangement proved to be of little help in the sweltering heat for the VVIPs attending oath taking ceremony. The red-carpeted forecourt was an ideal setting for the ceremony marking the clear verdict given by the voters after 30 years but the sultry weather with mercury at 36.4 degrees Celsius proved otherwise.

With sun setting in the background of Rashtrapati Bhavan it was a pleasant ambiance but VVIPs, including Kerala Governor Sheila Dikshit, were seen using brochure as fan to relieve themselves. The attendants of some VIPs were seen carrying umbrellas to protect their masters from direct sunlight. Rotating desert coolers with ‘khus’ were installed and fountains were kept running at full capacity to ensure that guests faced little inconvenience.

A Carnival-esque ceremony

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

Never before have well over 4,000 people gathered in the forecourt of the majestic Presidential house as they did to watch the change of guard from Manmohan Singh to the man from Gujarat for whom the oath-taking was the culmination of a breathtaking political journey.

The heat did not deter his admirers who had come hours ahead. There were a few fans to cool them but they depended on their invitation cards to generate some breeze till the sun set. ‘Modi, Modi’ up went the chants. Pics/PTI

A first: SAARC heads at PM oath-taking
Yesterday was the first time that the heads of state and government of SAARC nations were invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony of an Indian Prime Minister, a move which is seen by political observers here as a significant initiative.

Narendra Modi moves to greet Nawaz Sharif
Narendra Modi moves to greet Nawaz Sharif

The swearing-in at the fore-court of the majestic Rashtrapati Bhawan was witnessed by South Asian leaders including Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom were also present at the ceremony attended by about over 4,000 guests. Bangladesh was represented by Speaker Shirin Chaudhury as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was on a visit to Japan.

Besides the SAARC nations, Mauritian Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam also attended the ceremony. Modi had “short duration bilateral meetings” with all the SAARC leaders yesterday.

Fact: At the Fore
This was the third time that a PM’s swearing-in ceremony was held at the fore-court of the majestic Rashtrapati Bhavan. The swearing-in of Chandra Shekhar in 1990 and Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1998 were held at the forecourt and saw an attendance of 1,200 to 1,300.

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