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Modi innings begins
New Delhi: Against the backdrop of a gently setting sun and a clear sky and to the sound of trumpets and bugles at the imposing Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Modi era began its majestic march on Monday.
Narendra Modi was sworn in Prime Minister at the head of a 45-member coalition government after the elections threw the first government with absolute majority in 30 years.
63-year-old Modi, the first leader to get a landslide majority for BJP on its own, became the 15th prime minister in a virtual ‘coronation’ ceremony in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhawan before a 3000-strong gathering, the largest audience at the swearing in a of new government.
Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, M Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Uma Bharti, Maneka Gandhi, Ananth Kumar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Smriti Irani and Harsh Vardhan were among those who were sworn in as Cabinet ministers.
Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP), Harsimrat Kaur Badal (Akali Dal), Anant Geete (Shiv Sena) and Ashok Gajapathi Raju (TDP) were those from allied parties who took the oath today.
Dignitaries from politics, industry, cinema and religion, capped by leaders of SAARC nations including Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, watched Modi take the oath of office and secrecy in Hindi.
Vice President Hamid Ansari, outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his ministerial colleagues P Chidambaram, Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel and Pallam Raju, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, senior BJP leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, outgoing Speaker Meira Kumar, former Presidents Abdul Kalam, Pratibha Patil were among those who attended the ceremony.
Differences during elections melted away before protocol as opponents including Mulayam Singh Yadav, his son and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, J and K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda were present at the ceremony.
Top industry figures like Mukesh Ambani and his family, his brother Anil, Kumarmangalam Birla, Sashi Ruia, Gautam Adani and V N Dhoot, film stars Salman Khan along with his father Salim Khan, Vivek Oberoi, Dharmendra and Anupam Kher, lyricist Javed Akthar were present along with a clutch saffron-robed seers including Pejawar Mutt chief Vishwendra Teertha Swamy. Cricketing great Sunil Gavaskar was also present.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, whose effigy was burnt some kms away in the morning, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Mauritius President Naveen Chandra Ramgoolam were the other foreign dignitaries present at the ceremony.
At the end of the 90-minute swearing-in ceremony, Modi shook hands with all the heads of governments from abroad after the President took a group photograph with the new council of ministers.
Modi also exchanged greetings with the outgoing PM. Shortly later, it was all disorder as the gathered crowd sought to greet the new PM that led to pushing around.
The other BJP MPs, who were sworn in as cabinet ministers were Gopinath Munde, Sadanand Gowda, Kalraj Mishra, Najma Heptullah, the lone Muslim face, Narendra Singh Tomar, Jual Oram, Radha Mohan Singh and Thawar Chand Ghelot.
Former Army chief Gen V K Singh was inducted into the council of ministers as Minister of State with independent charge along with nine others. They are Rao Inderjit Singh, Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Shripad Naik, Dharmendra Pradhan, Sarbananda Sonowal, Prakash Javadekar, Piyush Goel, Jitender Singh and Nirmala Seetharaman.
12 other ministers of state were inducted. They are G M Siddeshwara, Manoj Sinha, Nihal Chand, Upendra Khushwaha, Pon Radhakrishnan, Kiren Rijiju, Krishen Pal, Sanjiv Kumar Baliyan, Mansukhbhai Vasava, Rao Saheb Danve, Vishnudev Sai and Sudarshan Bhagat. (Agencies)