Preparations complete, guests have started arriving, today Modi will create history by taking oath as Prime Minister for the third time

Ananya Shroff
8 Min Read

New Delhi: Narendra Modi will take oath as Prime Minister for the third consecutive time on Sunday as the head of a coalition government. After the completion of two terms of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, this time the Bharatiya Janata Party has not got an absolute majority on its own in the elections. Modi will be the second leader to achieve this feat after the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru won the general elections of 1952, 1957 and 1962. Leaders of India's neighboring countries and countries of the Indian Ocean region, as well as dignitaries and special invitees are expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers at 7.15 pm at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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Many foreign guests will be present at the swearing-in ceremony
Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, Seychelles Vice President Ahmed Afeef, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' and Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay have accepted the invitation for the ceremony. “The visit of the leaders to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi for his third consecutive term is in consonance with the highest priority accorded by India to its 'Neighbourhood First' policy and 'SAGAR' vision,” the Ministry of External Affairs said.

SAARC group leaders attended Modi's first swearing-in ceremony
Leaders of regional grouping SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries had attended Modi's first swearing-in ceremony when he took over as prime minister after the BJP's landslide electoral victory. When Modi became prime minister for the second consecutive time in 2019, his swearing-in ceremony was attended by leaders of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries. People from various fields have also been invited to the ceremony. Surekha Yadav, pilot of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus-Solapur Vande Bharat train in Maharashtra, is among the 10 loco pilots of the Indian Railways who have been invited.

Preparations for the swearing-in ceremony are complete
All necessary arrangements have been made for the guests, including the designated courtyard for the swearing-in council of ministers and VVIPs, officials said on Saturday. Rashtrapati Bhavan shared pictures of preparations for the grand ceremony, where chairs, red carpet and other decorations have been put in place for the function. Delhi Police has tightened security by imposing Section 144 and the national capital has been declared a no-fly zone on June 9 and 10 for the ceremony.

Opposition did not get invitation to swearing-in ceremony!
The BJP is trying to send a message of continuity and dispel any perception of political weakness after its surprisingly poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections. The party got 240 seats in these general elections, 32 short of the majority figure. The party had won 303 seats in the 2019 elections. The main opposition Congress said that its leaders have not yet received an invitation for the swearing-in ceremony, while Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee announced that her party will not attend the ceremony. Banerjee said in Kolkata, “Neither have we received any invitation nor are we attending it.” Meanwhile, intense deliberations are going on between the BJP leadership and allies over the share of ministers in the Council of Ministers for various NDA constituents in the new government.

Who will get which ministry?
Apart from BJP President JP Nadda, senior leaders like Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh are consulting allies including Telugu Desam Party's N. Chandrababu Naidu, Janata Dal United's (JDU) Nitish Kumar and Shiv Sena's Eknath Shinde about representation in the government. It is believed that apart from important departments like Home, Finance, Defense and Foreign, ministries with two strong ideological aspects like Education and Culture will remain with the BJP, while its allies may get five to eight cabinet posts.

Which leaders can be included in Modi cabinet?
While within the party, leaders like Shah and Singh are considered certain to be included in the new cabinet, former chief ministers who won Lok Sabha elections like Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Basavaraj Bommai, Manohar Lal Khattar and Sarbananda Sonowal are strong contenders to be included in the government. Sources said Telugu Desam Party's (TDP) Ram Mohan Naidu, JD(U)'s Lalan Singh, Sanjay Jha and Ram Nath Thakur and Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas)'s Chirag Paswan are among the allies who may be part of the new government. Singh or Jha will be included from the JD(U) quota. Maharashtra, where the BJP-Shiv Sena-NCP alliance has performed poorly, and Bihar, where the opposition has shown signs of a comeback, could be at the centre of the government formation exercise.

There may be a change in the BJP organization as well
Maharashtra is due to go to assembly polls in October, while Bihar goes to polls next year. Changes in the BJP's organisation will also be on the selectors' minds while the party's ministers are named. Nadda's term was extended because of the Lok Sabha elections, and organisational imperatives will be a key consideration for the party, as the election results have indicated that all may not be well in its vast machinery.

Sources said this has also increased the possibility of sending an experienced person in the party and giving Nadda a place in the government. The alienation of a section of voters, especially the Scheduled Castes and other disadvantaged sections of the society, from the party could also be a deciding factor in government formation, although Modi had emphasized on increasing their relative representation during his tenure. Nehru is the only Prime Minister who remained in office even after three consecutive elections after independence.

The Congress, however, claimed the results were a “moral, political and personal defeat” of Modi and questioned the comparison with Nehru. Party general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the country's first prime minister had got a two-thirds majority in all three terms. The BJP hit back, saying Nehru had “no challenge” and was only “losing to himself”. Responding to Ramesh's post, BJP IT chief Amit Malviya tweeted, “That's how he was. Now sit down. Tomorrow is the swearing-in ceremony. You can either attend the ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan or watch it on TV.” He added, “Meanwhile, console Rahul Gandhi. Tell him 240 is greater than 99.”

(With inputs from news agency)

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