Narendra Modi, team start on second innings
8,000 invitees at Rashtrapati Bhavan applaud as Narendra Modi takes oath as PM for second term, joined by Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah and others in Cabinet
New Delhi: Narendra Modi took over as the country's Prime Minister for a second term on Thursday after he was sworn in along with Union ministers, including BJP president Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and former foreign secretary S Jaishankar, a surprise pick.
Modi, 68, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by President Ram Nath Kovind at a glittering ceremony at the forecourt of majestic Rashtrapati Bhavan. Top Opposition leaders including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, South Asian leaders and Bollywood stars were part of the nearly 8,000 guests at the ceremony.
Newly sworn-in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Cabinet ministers after being administered an oath of office by President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday
Besides 25 Cabinet ministers including Modi, Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Piyush Goyal and Jaishankar, nine were sworn in as Minister of State with Independent charge and another 24 as Minister of State.
"The new team of ministers is a blend of youthful energy and administrative experience," Modi said after taking oath as the PM. Shah, who is set to combine his astute political mind with his delivery skills to help his mentor Modi implement his governance agenda in the next five years, called the swearing-in ceremony a 'historic moment for India'.
Amit Shah. Pic/AFP. (Right) Narendra Modi. Pic/PTI
Smriti Irani, who earned the tag of giant killer for defeating Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in his home turf in Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, was among the six women ministers. A seasoned diplomat, Jaishankar, was the Indian government's pointsman for China and the US.
Son of late K Subrahmanyam, one of India's leading strategic analysts, Jaishankar was a key member of the Indian team which negotiated the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal. Jaishankar retired from the Indian Foreign Service(IFS) only last year to join Tata Trusts.
In a grand ceremony, heads of state and government, chief ministers, India Inc honchos, opposition leaders, BJP members and showbiz stars rubbed shoulders as they watched President Kovind administer the oath of office.
With Modi pledging 'sabka saath, sabka vikas and sabka vishwas' mantra, Naqvi, the Cabinet's lone Muslim face, will have the responsibility of winning the hearts of minorities and taking forward the 'development without appeasement' policy. Shah also congratulated all the new ministers and said all should work hard to take forward the pledge of creating a strong and prosperous "New India" under Modi.
Maharashtra in the Modi Cabinet
The second term of Modi government saw the entry of two new faces from Maharashtra. Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant took oath as the Cabinet minister while BJP's Sanjay Dhotre was sworn-in as a junior minister. The state leaders who have been retained are Cabinet ministers Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goyal, and Prakash Javadekar — all from the BJP. Ramdas Athawale of Republican Party of India (A) BJP's Raosaheb Danve were also sworn-in as Cabinet ministers for a second term. Danve was the a junior minister in the first cabinet but had quit later to head state BJP.
Nitish's JD(U) opts out of Modi Cabinet
BJP ally JD(U) did not join the new Modi government, its spokesperson Pavan Varma said ahead of the swearing-in ceremony on Thursday, in what appears to be a sign of differences with the saffron party over the number of ministerial berths offered to it. "We are not joining the government. This is our decision," Varma said.
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