Hindustan Times, New Delhi, 30 May 2019 - Narendra Modi was sworn in as India’s Prime Minister for a second term in the presence of foreign leaders, top politicians and spiritual leaders at a ceremony loaded with symbolism and grandeur. PM Modi, 68, strode into the forecourt of the majestic Presidential palace, Rashtrapati Bhawan, just a little before 7.00 pm. The Prime Minister, who wore a beige Nehru jacket, was sworn in by President Ram Nath Kovind just before sunset. His senior-most minister Rajnath Singh took oath immediately after him, followed by Amit Shah, BJP president. The national elections that Modi fronted along with master strategist Amit Shah delivered the Bharatiya Janata Party’s best-ever performance with 303 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha earlier this month.
Among others who have taken oath as ministers in the new central cabinet are BJP leaders Nitin Gadkari and DV Sadananda Gowda, ex-foreign secretary S Jaishankar and Nirmala Sitharaman. BJP president and a confidant of PM Modi for two decades, Amit Shah, was the big entry in the new cabinet and is likely to be assigned the finance portfolio. Arun Jaitley, the finance minister in the outgoing government, had ruled himself out of the government due to health reasons. Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who has been insistent on stepping down from the party’s top post after leading it to a crushing defeat in the national election, was also at PM Modi’s swearing-in ceremony.