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BJP likely to keep big 4 portfolios, culture, education

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
June 08, 2024 22:29 IST
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Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi is set to take oath on Sunday for a third straight term as the head of a coalition government after two full tenures in which the Bharatiya Janata Party enjoyed a majority on its own.

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the media after meeting with President Droupadi Murmu and staking claim to form the government as leader of the NDA parliamentary party, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi, June 7, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Modi, 73, will be equalling the feat of first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who won in 1952, 1957 and 1962 general elections.


Leaders from India's neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean Region are among the dignitaries and special invitees expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan at 7.15 pm.

Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe, President of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu, Vice-President of Seychelles Ahmed Afif, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' and Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay have accepted invitations to the ceremony.

"The visit of the leaders to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his third consecutive term is in keeping with the highest priority accorded by India to its 'Neighbourhood First' policy and 'SAGAR' vision," the ministry of external affairs said.

The leaders of the regional grouping SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) attended Modi's first swearing-in as the prime minister after a massive electoral victory for the BJP in 2014.

Leaders of the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) countries attended Modi's swearing-in ceremony in 2019 when he became prime minister for the second consecutive term.

Also invited to the ceremony are people from different walks of life. Surekha Yadav, the pilot of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus-Solapur Vande Bharat train in Maharashtra, is among 10 loco pilots of the Indian Railways who have been invited.

Necessary arrangements have been made for the guests, including designated enclosures for the council of ministers to be sworn in and the VVIPs, the officials said on Saturday.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan shared visuals of the preparations for the grand ceremony in the forecourt with chairs, red carpet and other paraphernalia being set up.

Security has been stepped up with Delhi police imposing prohibitory orders and the national capital has been declared a no-flying zone for June 9 and 10 for the ceremony.

Modi has retained power but with a surprising below-par show by the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls as its seat tally fell to 240 from 303, considerably short of the majority mark of 272.

Principal opposition Congress said this evening that its leaders are yet to receive invitations for the swearing-in ceremony, while Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee announced that her party would not attend the event.

"Neither we have got any invitation nor are we attending it," Banerjee said in Kolkata.

Meanwhile, hectic parleys involving BJP leadership and allies were on over the share of berths of different constituents of the National Democratic Alliance in the new government.

Senior BJP leaders such as Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh besides party president J P Nadda have been consulting the allies, including Telugu Desam Party's N Chandrababu Naidu, Janata Dal-United's Nitish Kumar and Shiv Sena's Eknath Shinde, to finalise their share of representation in the government.

There is a view that heavyweight portfolios like home, finance, defence and external affairs besides education and culture, two ministries with strong ideological hues, will be kept by the BJP, while its allies can get anywhere between five to eight cabinet berths.

While leaders like Shah and Singh are seen within the party as a certainty in the new Cabinet, former chief ministers who have won the Lok Sabha polls like Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Basavaraj Bommai, Manohar Lal Khattar and Sarbananda Sonowal are strong contenders for joining the government.

Ram Mohan Naidu of the TDP, Lalan Singh, Sanjay Jha and Ram Nath Thakur of the JD-U, and Chirag Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) are among the allies who may be a part of the new government, sources said, adding that either Singh or Jha will be accommodated from the JD-U quota.

Maharashtra, where the BJP-Shiv Sena-NCP alliance has fared poorly, and Bihar, where the opposition has shown signs of revival, maybe in the focus during the government-formation exercise.

Assembly polls are due in the western state in October, while polls will be held in Bihar next year.

Impending changes within the BJP's organisation will also be on the mind of its brain trust in finalising the names of ministers from the party.

Nadda's term was extended due to the Lok Sabha polls, and organisational imperatives will be an important consideration for the party as the poll results have sent signals that all may not be well within its vast machinery.

This opens the possibility of some seasoned hand being sent to the party and Nadda being given a berth in the government, the sources said.

The desertion by a section of voters, especially from the Scheduled Castes and other deprived sections of society, may also be a guiding factor in government formation even though Modi had made a point to increase their relative representation in his outgoing term.

Nehru is the only prime minister who held the post after three consecutive elections after Independence.

The Congress, however, claimed that the results were a "moral, political, and personal defeat" of Modi and questioned the comparison with Nehru, with party general secretary Jairam Ramesh saying the country's first prime minister had got two-thirds majority in all three terms.

The BJP hit back, saying Nehru had "no challenge" and was only "losing to himself".

"That is how bad he was. Now sit down. The oath ceremony is tomorrow. You can either join the celebration at Rastrapati Bhavan or watch it on TV.

"In the meanwhile, console Rahul Gandhi. Tell him that 240 is greater than 99," BJP's IT department head Amit Malviya said on X while reacting to the post by Ramesh.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.