In Modi Led NDA Govt, BJP’s Five Allies Get A Cabinet Berth Each


DELHI: Narendra Modi was sworn in as prime minister on Sunday for a record-equalling third term, heading a Cabinet that emphasised continuity and experience while also rewarding partners in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government.

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PM Modi took oath for the consecutive third time on June 9, 2024.

Along with Modi, senior BJP leaders including Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman and S Jaishankar, all ministers in Modi 2.0 Cabinet, took oath as cabinet ministers at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

President Droupadi Murmu administered the oath of secrecy and office to Modi and 30 Cabinet ministers.

Dressed in a white kurta and churidar with a blue chequered jacket, Modi, 73, took the oath in the name of God. Modi became only the second prime minister after Jawaharlal Nehru to secure a third consecutive term.

In the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, the BJP failed to win a simple majority, making it dependent on allies whose MPs also took the oath of office as Cabinet ministers — JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy, HAM (Secular) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi, JD(U) leader Rajiv Ranjan Singh ‘Lalan’, TDP’s K Ram Mohan Naidu and LJP-RV leader Chirag Paswan. Each of these five allies got one cabinet berth. Kumaraswamy and Manjhi are former chief ministers of Karnataka and Bihar respectively.

BJP Party president J P Nadda returned to the cabinet after five years, while former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and ex-Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar were the fresh faces in the Modi cabinet.

BJP leaders Piyush Goyal, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Dharmendra Pradhan and Bhupender Yadav, who were earlier in the Rajya Sabha but have now been elected to the Lok Sabha, were among those retained as ministers.

Former Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal, Ashwini Vaishnaw, Virendra Kumar, Pralhad Joshi, Giriraj Singh, Jual Oram, C R Paatil, who is Gujarat BJP president, Mansukh Mandaviya , G Kishan Reddy, Hardeep Singh Puri, Kiren Rijiju, Annapurna Devi and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, all from BJP, were among those sworn in as Cabinet ministers.

Congress president and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge was present, even as several opposition leaders skipped the ceremony.

Ahead of the oath-taking ceremony, Modi had a pep talk with the minister-designates, saying people have huge expectations and everyone will have to deliver, sources said

Be humble as common people love those who are humble and never compromise on probity and transparency, he told the minister-designates.

Those present on the occasion included Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, TDP president Chandrababu Naidu and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar.

Bollywood actors Shahrukh Khan and Rajinikanth, and industrialists Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani were among those who attended the swearing-in ceremony.

Modi’s third term, which always appeared inevitable, did not come with the massive mandate he and his party had been claiming, as the Congress and its allies in the INDIA bloc fought a doughty rearguard battle to shock the BJP in its strongholds such as Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

It is, however, a tribute to his towering political presence that the BJP’s third-best tally of 240 seats is being seen as a disappointment by the party’s ardent supporters and projected as a “moral defeat” by the Congress whose own tally of 99 seats, its third worst, is being hailed by the opposition party.

The National Democratic Alliance(NDA) won 293 seats out of 543, which Modi has noted is the biggest success for any pre-poll alliance when a single party did not get a majority.

Top leaders from India’s neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean region — Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina, Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Bhutanese PM Tshering Tobgay and Vice-President of Seychelles Ahmed Afif — were special guests at the function.

In addition to political leaders and eminent persons from different walks of life, members from the transgender community as well as sanitation workers and labourers, who were involved in the construction of the new parliament building, also attended the swearing-in ceremony of Modi and the new council of ministers.

Nearly 9,000 people were estimated to be present at the forecourts of the Rashtrapati Bhavan for the grand event.

33 First Timers

With the third Modi government taking shape on Sunday, 33 first-timers will grace its ranks and at least six of them hail from well-known political families.

Those joining Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s council of ministers for the first time include three former chief ministers — Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh), Manohar Lal Khattar (Haryana) and HD Kumaraswamy (Karnataka).

Chouhan is a five-time MP from Vidisha, a constituency represented by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the past. He is also the longest-serving chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.

A former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak, Khattar served as the chief minister of Haryana twice. He resigned from the post in March after ally JJP withdrew support from the government.

Seven first-time ministers in the Modi government belong to the allies: TDP’s K Rammohan Naidu and Chandrasekhar Pemmasani; JDU’s Lalan Singh and Ram Nath Thakur, RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary, LJP’s Chirag Paswan and HD Kumaraswamy of the JD(S).

Jayant Chaudhary, the 45-year-old national chairman of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), is the grandson of Chaudhary Charan Singh — India’s fifth Prime Minister — and the son of former Union minister Chaudhary Ajit Singh.

Chaudhary, previously associated with Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, joined the NDA ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections after the BJP posthumously honoured his grandfather with the Bharat Ratna in February this year.

Under his leadership, the RLD secured two seats in western Uttar Pradesh – Baghpat and Bijnor – with significant margins of over 4,88,000 and 37,500 votes.

Chirag Paswan, son of the late Ram Vilas Paswan, one of Bihar’s most influential leaders, is set to make his debut as a minister in the central government. He won the Hajipur seat, held by his father for a record nine times, by a margin of 1.7 lakh votes in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

His party, LJP (Ram Vilas), swept all five seats it contested in Bihar under the NDA umbrella, making a resounding comeback from the tumultuous period following Ram Vilas Paswan’s death in 2020.

Ram Nath Thakur, from the Janata Dal (United), is the son of Karpoori Thakur, a renowned socialist leader and former Chief Minister of Bihar who was awarded the Bharat Ratna earlier this year.

Hailing from Samastipur, the 74-year-old leader is known for his close association with Nitish Kumar and his influence among the most backward classes. He previously served as a Bihar minister between 2005 and 2010.

Ravneet Singh Bittu, the grandson of Punjab’s former Chief Minister Beant Singh, who was assassinated by a Khalistani militant organisation in 1995, is a new entrant to the Modi ministry.

Bittu switched from the Congress to the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. He contested from Ludhiana and lost to Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring by over 20,000 votes.

Bittu (48), previously represented Punjab’s Anandpur Sahib in Lok Sabha from 2009 to 2014 and Ludhiana from 2014 to 2024.

Raksha Khadse, the daughter-in-law of senior NCP leader Eknath Khadse, who played a key role in building the BJP in Maharashtra, was sworn in as Union minister.

She retained her Raver seat, winning it for the third time on the trot. At the age of 26, she along with Heena Gavit, became the youngest MPs after winning the 2014 general elections. Her husband Nikhil Khadse allegedly died by suicide at the age of 37.

From being one of the youngest ministers in the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government, Jitin Prasada will return to the Union Council of Ministers after 10 years. He quit the Congress to join the BJP in 2021.

His father Jitendra Prasada, a former vice-president of the Congress, served as political advisor to two prime ministers — Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and P V Narasimha Rao in 1994.

A trusted friend of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Rajiv Ranjan, popularly known as Lalan Singh, represents the Munger Lok Sabha seat in Bihar.

The new faces also include Suresh Gopi, the actor-turned-politician who scripted history by becoming the first BJP MP from Kerala.

The first-timers from the BJP are Kamlesh Paswan (Uttar Pradesh), Sukanta Majumder (West Bengal), Durga Das Uikey (Madhya Pradesh), Raj Bhushan Chaudhary (Bihar), Satish Dubey (Bihar), Sanjay Seth (Jharkhand), C R Paatil (Gujarat), Bhagirath Chaudhary (Rajasthan), Harsh Malhotra (Delhi), V Somanna (Karnataka), Savitri Thakur (UP).

Kamaljeet Sehrawat (Delhi), Prataprao Jadhav (Maharashtra), George Kurian (Kerala), Kirti Vardhan Singh (UP), Tokhan Sahu (Chhattisgarh), Bhupathi Raju Srinivasa Varma (Andhra Pradesh), Nimuben Bambhniya (Gujarat), Murlidhar Mohol (Maharashtra), Pabitra Margherita (Assam) and Bandi Sanjay Kumar (Telangana), are also among the BJP first-timers.

The Invitees

Political veterans and debutants, business leaders and showbiz stars, almost everybody who is anybody in India, and many who are not… more than 8,000 people packed into the Rashtrapati Bhavan forecourt on Sunday as Narendra Modi was sworn in as prime minister for a third consecutive term.

As the blazing sunny day dulled into a warm evening, the swearing-in ceremony of the Modi 3.0 government unravelled against the backdrop of the magnificent sandstone dome of the columned presidential palace lit in saffron, white and green. It was the final chapter of a 44-day election that saw the Modi-led BJP come to power with 240 seats, more than 60 seats less than in 2019, and now dependent on its allies in the NDA.

There were bugles, ceremonial guards, flowers and all the trappings of a grand spectacle as President Droupadi Murmu administered the oath of office. But the political overtones dominated them all. The list of potential ministers was analysed and speculated on endlessly to see which allies would be accommodated, how many from the partner NDA parties — particularly from the TDP and the JD-U, which together won 28 seats — which leader would be repeated, which of the newbies would get a berth.

Among the allies, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy, HAM (Secular) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi, JD(U) leader Lalan Singh and TDP’s K Ram Mohan Naidu took the oath of office as ministers.

And while there were the seniors, Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman and S Jaishankar, who were sworn in, there were also fresh faces such as former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and former Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

At the grand show, almost like a US Inauguration Day, just as closely scrutinised was the guest list.

There weren’t too many opposition leaders. Congress president and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge was there but several others skipped the ceremony.

Among those present were seven top leaders from India’s neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean region – Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Bhutan’s Tshering Tobgay and Seychelles Vice President Ahmed Afif.

Narendra Modi was sworn in for the third time on June 9, 2024. This collage accessed from BJP social media shows Modi’s three swearing-ins.

In 2014, when Modi took the reins as prime minister for the first time, the leaders of regional grouping SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries attended the swearing-in ceremony. In 2019, it was the leaders of the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) countries.

Also unmissable were the several religious leaders attending the ceremony.

And there was a splash of stardust with Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan, Anil Kapoor, Rajinikanth, Akshay Kumar, Raveena Tandon and Anupam Kher. Kangana Ranaut, the BJP’s debutant MP from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, was there of course.

Who came with whom, who was sitting with whom and who was dressed in what? The details were watched closely by millions on myriad screens across the country.

Industrialists Gautam Adani, his wife and brother, Mukesh Ambani and his family, including his sons and daughter, were there as were Chief Justice DY Chandrachud. Former presidents Ram Nath Kovind and Pratibha Patil also attended the event.

At the other end of the ‘power spectrum’ were people from the transgender community as well as sanitation workers and labourers, who were involved in the construction of the new parliament building. Chants of “Modi, Modi” went up as the prime minister came up the slope of the Raisina Hill.

BJP MP Anurag Thakur, who was not on the list of ministers, leading to much discussion on why and what next for him, said people who participated in ‘Mann ki baat’ and those involved in Vikshit Bharat Abhiyan and the NaMo app were also invited to the ceremony.

Individuals like Shehla Rashid, the one-time student leader who was a ferocious critic of the government and is now a vocal supporter of it, were there too. She put out a post on X saying, “Honoured to join in, with prayers for the progress of the nation… #Modi3.0.”

As the hours passed by and dusk darkened to night, 73-year-old Modi was formally back in power. Modi equals the feat of the first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who won in the 1952, 1957 and 1962 general elections.

Besides him, 30 cabinet ministers and five ministers of state with independent charge were sworn in as were the members of his council of ministers.

Another chapter in the country’s political history has opened up. Till the next election.

LG Sinha’s Statement

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Sunday congratulated Narendra Modi for taking oath as the prime minister for a third consecutive term and called it a “historic moment for Bharat”.

“Historic moment for Bharat! Congratulations to Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodi Ji on taking the oath for 3rd term as Prime Minister of India. Under your visionary leadership, the nation will continue to move forward on the path of peace, progress, prosperity & achieve newer heights,” Sinha posted on X.

Modi has become only the second PM after Jawaharlal Nehru to secure a third consecutive term. Along with Modi, who took oath in the name of God, senior BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman and S Jaishankar were sworn in as cabinet ministers.


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