PM-elect Narendra Modi to take oath on 30 May

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi will be administered the oath of office and secrecy with his council of ministers on 30 May, according to a statement from the Rashtrapati Bhavan released on Sunday.

The announcement came three days after Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) notched up a massive victory in the just concluded national polls. Modi’s BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) returned to power on Thursday winning 353 seats, beating its previous tally of 336 seats. The BJP alone won 303 seats, a considerable increase from the 282 seats it had won the last time.

“The President will administer the oath of office and secrecy to the Prime Minister and other members of Union Council of Ministers on 30 May at Rashtrapati Bhavan,” said an official statement from the president’s office on Sunday.

The statement followed President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday inviting Modi to form the government. Modi had met the president to stake claim to form the government after a delegation of senior leaders of the NDA met the president and handed over letters of support. The NDA had met on Saturday and unanimously elected Modi as the leader of the parliamentary party. He was then authorized to stake claim to form the government.

Speaking to NDA members, Modi said that MPs should not differentiate between people on the basis of caste, region and religion and it was the responsibility of all to not just work for those who have faith in us but also try to win the trust of others. Talking about the work done for the socially and financially weaker section of people in the first five years of the NDA, Modi said that the message for the coming five years was not just development for all but also to win the trust of everyone.

“We are for the 130 crore people of the country, we cannot differentiate between anyone. We cannot differentiate on the basis of caste and religion or region. We have shown how to achieve sabka saath, sabka vikas (development for all) and now we have to win sabka vishwas (trust of everyone). We are for the people who trusted us and those whose trust we need to win. Nobody should be ‘other’ for us. It takes a lot of strength to try and win the hearts of people,” said Modi during the NDA parliamentary party meeting.

With the swearing-in ceremony set to take place on 30 May, a person familiar with the development said that arrangements were being made for the event to be held outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan like in 2014.

In 2014, Modi had invited heads of state and government from all South Asian countries besides the prime minister of Maldives for his inauguration. This time too, some “key foreign dignitaries are expected,” two people familiar with the developments said, though the Indian foreign ministry has not confirmed any foreign leader’s presence at the inauguration.

The selection of council of ministers is expected to be interesting given that the BJP has continued with its move for a generation shift during the general elections. Although there is speculation about the fate of some of the senior ministers who were part of the council of ministers earlier, it is possible that some of the ministers may not find place in the council of ministers again.

There is speculation that BJP president Amit Shah, elected to the Lok Sabha from Ahmedabad, could be given the home ministry portfolio, with incumbent Rajnath Singh being moved to defence and Nirmala Sitharaman, who has held the defence portfolio, being shifted to external affairs given that incumbent Sushma Swaraj decided against contesting the elections. Dharmendra Pradhan and Ravi Shankar Prasad were expected to continue in the second Modi cabinet. Rumour has it that textiles minister Smriti Irani, who defeated Congress president Rahul Gandhi from Amethi constituency, could be given an important portfolio.

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