Swaraj, Prabhu, Maneka, Rathore among those dropped
NEW DELHI, May 30: Narendra Modi was today sworn in as the Prime Minister for a second term helming a 58-member Ministry with BJP chief Amit Shah making his debut at the Centre and former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar emerging as a surprise pick while party veteran Sushma Swaraj was among the outgoing Ministers who found no place.
Wearing a beige Nehru jacket, Modi, 68, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by President Ram Nath Kovind at a glittering ceremony just before sunset at the forecourt of majestic Rashtrapati Bhavan, capping a landslide win for the BJP which won 303 of the 542 seats.
Besides 25 Cabinet Ministers including Modi, Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Piyush Goyal and Jaishankar, nine were sworn in as Minister of State with Independent charge and another 24 as Minister of State.
“Honoured to serve India!” tweeted Modi after taking the oath.
Besides Swaraj, who did not contest the elections on health grounds, eight-time MP Maneka Gandhi, six-time MP Radhamohan Singh, Mahesh Sharma, Jayant Sinha, Jual Oram, Ram Kripal Yadav, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, all of BJP, and Anupriya Patel (of BJP ally Apna Dal) failed to make the cut despite winning their respective seats. Anantkumar Hegde, a Hindutva leader from Karnataka who is known for his controversial statements, was also dropped.
Suresh Prabhu and J P Nadda (both Rajya Sabha) also did not find a place.
Arun Jaitley, who held the Finance portfolio, had already opted out of the Government for health reasons.
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, a former diplomat who lost the elections, managed to retain his berth. Jaishankar and Puri will have to enter Parliament within 6 months and they could take the Rajya Sabha route.
Portfolios for the news Ministers were not announced amid reports that Shah may get the Finance portfolio and Rajnath retaining Home.
Key BJP ally JD(U) stayed out of the Government in what appears to be a sign of differences with the saffron party over the number of ministerial berths offered to the party
“We are not joining the Government. This is our decision,” Pavan Varma, who is also the general secretary of the Janata Dal (United), said. The JD(U), will, however, remain part of the NDA.
Smriti Irani, who earned the tag of giant killer for defeating Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in his home turf in Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, was among the six women ministers.
While the inclusion of Shah, seen as BJP’s key strategist who helped the party expand its base after taking over the reins of the party in 2014, was the subject of intense speculation since the party’s spectacular victory on May 23, Jaishankar, considered close to Modi, was a surprise pick.
A seasoned Diplomat, Jaishankar, was the Indian Government’s pointsman for China and the US.
Son of late K Subrahmanyam, one of India’s leading strategic analysts, Jaishankar was a key member of the Indian team which negotiated the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal.
Jaishankar retired from the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) only last year to join Tata Trusts.
Uttar Pradesh accounted for a maximum of 9 Ministers while states like West Bengal where the BJP had a spectacular showing winning 18 seats accounted for two ministers–Babul Supriyo and Debasree Chaudhuri. Kerala, where the BJP drew a blank, had a token representation in V Muraleedharan, the Rajya Sabha MP from Maharashtra.
As the sun set over the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the two-hour swearing-in ceremony commenced with 8,000 people packing into the forecourt of the historic British-era presidential palace.
In a grand ceremony with overtones of a US presidential inauguration, heads of state and government, chief ministers, India Inc honchos, opposition leaders, BJP members and showbiz stars rubbed shoulders as they watched President Kovind administer the oath of office. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi were among those who were present.
The two-hour ceremony is the largest event to be held in Rashtrapati Bhavan, officials said.
D V Sadananda Gowda, Narendra Singh Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Thanwar Chand Gehlot, Ramesh Pokhriyal, Arjun Munda, Harsh Vardhan, Prakash Javadekar, Dharmendra Pradhan, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Pralhad Joshi, Mahendra Nath Pandey, Giriraj Singh and Gajendra Shekhawat were the other BJP leaders who were made cabinet ministers. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Arvind Sawant, and Ram Vilas Paswan represented allies Akali Dal, Shiv Sena and LJP respectively.
The 9 who took oath as minister of state with independent charge are — Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Rao Inderjit Singh, Shripad Yesso Naik, Jitendra Singh, Kiren Rijiju, Prahalad Singh Patel, Raj Kumar Singh, Hardeep Singh Puri and Mansukh L Mandaviya.
The 24 Ministers of state were –Faggan Singh Kulaste, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Arjun Ram Meghwal, V K Singh, Krishan Pal, Danve Raosaheb Dadarao, G Kishan Reddy, Parshottam Rupala, Ramdas Athawale, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Babul Supriyo, Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Dhotre Sanjay Shamrao, Anurag Singh Thakur, Angadi Suresh Channabasappa, Nityanand Rai, Rattan Lal Kataria, V Muraleedharan, Renuka Singh Saruta, Som Parkash, Rameswar Teli, Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Kailash Choudhary, Debasree Chaudhuri.
With Modi pledging ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas and sabka vishwas’ mantra, Naqvi, the Cabinet’s lone Muslim face, will have the responsibility of winning the hearts of minorities and taking forward the ‘development without appeasement’ policy.
Modi can have as many as 80 ministers in the 543-member Lok Sabha.
As per the Constitution, the total number of Union ministers, including the Prime Minister shall not exceed 15 per cent of the number of members in the LS.
This is the second time Modi took the oath at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Modi was sworn in by the then President Pranab Mukherjee in 2014 in the presence of over 3,500 guests including the heads of SAARC countries.
Earlier, Chandra Shekhar in 1990 and Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999 were sworn in at the sprawling forecourt.
Leaders of BIMSTEC countries including President of Bangladesh Abdul Hamid, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, President of Myanmar U Win Myint and Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering also attended the gala event.
From Thailand, its Special Envoy Grisada Boonrach represented the country. Besides India, BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) comprises Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan as members.
Kyrgyz President and current chair of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, and Mauritius PM Pravind Kumar Jugnauth also attended.
Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Nirmala Sitharaman and Prakash Javadekar were among the 36 ministers who were sworn in Thursday for a second term, besides 20 MPs who took oath of office as cabinet ministers for the first time.
Home minister in the previous Narendra Modi government, Rajnath Singh was the first to take oath after the prime minister.
Ram Vilas Paswan, DV Sadananda Gowda, Narendra Singh Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Harsh Vardhan, Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan and Muqtar Abbas Naqvi were among those who got a second chance.
Giriraj Singh, Raj Kumar Singh, Hardeep Singh Puri, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Sripad Yaso Naik, Jitender Singh, Kiren Rijiju, Mansukh Mandavia, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Krishan Pal Gurjar, Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Purshottam Rupala, Ramdas Athavale and Babul Supriyo, were among the ministers of state in the previous government who were retained in the new council.
Ram Vilas Paswan is not a member of either of the Houses and he has been promised a Rajya Sabha seat.
Hardeep Puri, who is a Rajya Sabha MP, was reinducted into Modi’s council of ministers despite losing the Lok Sabha polls.He was given a ticket by the BJP to contest from Amritsar.
Former Jharkhand chief minister Arjun Munda, former Uttarakhand chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, four-time MP from Karnataka’s Dharwad-Prahlad Joshi, Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant, five-time MP from Maharashtra’s Jalna-Raosaheb Danve, Gangapuram Kishan Reddy from Telangana, three-time Hamirpur MP Anurag Thakur, were among those who took oath as Union ministers for the first time.
Other first-timers included Debasree Chaudhuri, Kailash Choudhary, Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Rameshwar Teli, Renuka Singh Saruta, V Muraleedharan, Ratan Lal Kataria, Nityanand Rai, Angadi Syresh Channabasappa and Dhotre Sanhay Shamrao.
Prahlad Singh Mulayam Singh Patel who was the Coal Minister in the Vajpayee government also took oath at the glittering ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Meanwhile, Amethi MP Smriti Irani was among the six women ministers to take oath in the newly-formed Government.
The number of women ministers in this government is lower than the last time, even though the number of women elected in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls is the highest ever.
There were eight women ministers in the last government.
Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Nirmala Sitharaman also took oath as Union ministers, besides Irani.
The 43-year-old Amethi MP, who was the “giant slayer” in the Lok Sabha polls as she scripted a historic win over Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in the latter’s family bastion, took oath as Union minister along with 57 others.
Badal (52), from BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), won the polls from Bathinda.
Sitharaman (59), who was the first woman to be appointed a full-time defence minister of the country, also took oath as Union minister.
Fatehpur MP Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti (52) took oath as minister of state, along with new entrants Renuka Singh Saruta (55), the MP from Chhattisgarh’s Sarguja, and Debashree Chaudhuri (48), the MP from Raiganj in West Bengal.
Among the women ministers in the previous government, Sushma Swaraj (external affairs), Uma Bharti (drinking water and sanitation), Maneka Gandhi (women and child development) and Anupriya Patel (MoS, health and family welfare) are not part of the new council of ministers.
The average age of women MPs this time is 51 years with Irani being the youngest woman minister and Sitharaman the oldest.
Sitharaman, Swaraj and Bharti did not contest the Lok Sabha polls. Gandhi, Badal, Irani and Jyoti won from their respective constituencies.
The number of women elected in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls is the highest ever.
Of the 542 MPs who will take oath as members of the Lower House in the next few days, 78 are women with Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal leading with 11 each.
A total of 724 women candidates contested the polls across the country with the Congress fielding the maximum of 54, closely followed by the BJP at 53.
With over 14 per cent female members, the 17th Lok Sabha will have the highest number of women since 1952. The 16th Lok Sabha had 64 women, while 52 were elected to the 15th Lok Sabha.
The ceremony started at 7 pm, right on time, but the crowds had started filing in much earlier, taking their allotted seats and making conversation while millions watching the proceedings on TV and other screens speculated about who was who, who was there and who was not.
Soon, as minister after minister took oath with the president sometimes the strict teacher correcting some of them when they slipped up, dusk slipped into night and the lights came on over the panoramic Lutyenscape with the Rashtrapati Bhavan dome lit up in the tricolour.
Among those present were former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former president Pratibha Patil, veteran BJP leader L K Advani and even spiritual guru Jaggi Vasudev.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who is adamant on his decision to quit office after his party’s debacle in the hustings and hasn’t been seen for some days, created a buzz when he walked in with his mother, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
NDA ally Janata Dal-United chief Nitish Kumar was there too, making an entry shortly after his party announced it would not be part of the government.
The BJP was offering one cabinet berth to the JD(U) and sources said the regional party was also unhappy with the portfolio offered to it.
From India Inc, Reliance Industry’s Mukesh Ambani, veteran industry leader Ratan Tata, steel baron L N Mittal and Adani Group head Gautam Adani were among the who’s who of corporate India present.
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, Essar Director Prashant Ruia, Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran, Vedanta Chairman Anil Aggarwal and HDFC’s Deepak Parekh were there as well.
Making a starry splash were showbiz stars, including those who were voted into power like Hema Malini and her stepson Sunny Deol. Others like cine star Rajinikanth, filmmaker Karan Johar, Shahid Kapoor, Boney Kapoor and Kangana Ranaut added a touch of glamour.
Sidharth Roy Kapur, president of the Film and Television Producers Guild of India, Vivek Oberoi, Anupam Kher, Madhur Bhandarkar and Boney Kapoor were also a part of the event.
“The kind of victory they have had, It is almost like a celebration. It is celebration of democracy,” Boney told PTI.
It was an eclectic gathering. Among those invited were the families of the BJP workers allegedly killed during political violence West Bengal as well as those of one of the martyrs of the Pulwama terror attack.
After the event, there were light snacks and then a dinner hosted by the President for about 40 guests.
A centrepiece of the dinner was ‘Dal Raisina’, cooked painstakingly over 48 hours.
Traditional Indian wear with hues of saffron and use of Hindi language for oath-taking were the overriding themes at the glittering swearing-in ceremony.
The mega event took place in the sprawling forecourt of the iconic Rashtrapati Bhavan which was attended by heads of states of various countries and a galaxy of other high-profile guests.
Among the Ministers who were sworn-in, most of them chose to take oath in Hindi while the rest did it in English.
In sartorial sense too, kurta-pyjama was the dominating theme as most of the MPs turned up in kurta-pyjama, colourful waistcoat or their traditional dresses, while a few chose to wear shirts and trousers.
The crowd cheered the most when Modi took his oath in Hindi and someone in the crowd shouted ‘Bharat Mata Ki ‘Jai’ just before he was sworn-in.
BJP chief Amit Shah and Smriti Irani were also greeted enthusiastically by the crowd.
Council of Ministers
1. Rajnath Singh
2. Amit Shah
3. Nitin Jairam Gadkari
4. D V Sadananda Gowda
5. Nirmala Sitharaman
6. Ramvilas Paswan
7. Narendra Singh Tomar
8. Ravi Shankar Prasad
9. Harsimrat Kaur Badal
10. Thaawar Chand Gehlot
11. Dr S Jaishankar
12. Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’
13. Arjun Munda
14. Smriti Zubin Irani
15. Harsh Vardhan
16. Prakash Javadekar
17. Piyush Goyal
18. Dharmendra Pradhan
19. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
20. Pralhad Joshi
21. Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey
22. Arvind Ganpat Sawant
23. Giriraj Singh
24. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat
Ministers of State
1. Santosh Kumar Gangwar
2. Rao Inderjit Singh
3. Shripad Yesso Naik
4. Dr Jitendra Singh
5. Kiren Rijiju
6. Prahalad Singh Patel
7. Raj Kumar Singh
8. Hardeep Singh Puri
9. Mansukh L Mandaviya
Ministers of State
1. Faggansingh Kulaste
2. Ashwini Kumar Choubey
3. Arjun Ram Meghwal
4. General VK Singh (Retd)
5. Krishan Pal
6. Danve Raosaheb Dadarao
7. G. Kishan Reddy
8. Parshottam Rupala
9. Ramdas Athawale
10. Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti
11. Babul Supriyo
12. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan
13. Dhotre Sanjay Shamrao
14. Anurag Singh Thakur
15.Angadi Suresh Channabasappa
16. Nityanand Rai
17. Rattan Lal Kataria
18. V Muraleedharan
19. Renuka Singh Saruta
20. Som Parkash
21. Rameswar Teli
22. Pratap Chandra Sarangi
23. Kailash Choudhary
24. Debasree Chaudhuri (UNI)
The ceremony also witnessed showbiz stars rubbing shoulders with political leaders and corporate honchos as they watched President Ram Nath Kovind administer the oath of office to India’s 58 new ministers. (PTI)