Modi sworn in as PM for third consecutive term; 5 allies get one Cabinet berth each

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New Delhi, Jun 9 (PTI) 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.

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 each. 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. PTI TEAM ASK KR BJ ACB RT GSN GSN GSN

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