Modi sworn in as PM for third term; Bihar & UP score big; 5 BJP allies in Cabinet

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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 72-member Union Council of Ministers that put emphasis on continuity, youth 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 the 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, five Ministers of State with Independent charge, and 36 Ministers of State. Portfolios of the new ministers were yet to be announced till late tonight.

There were bugles, ceremonial guards, flowers and all the trappings of a grand spectacle at the oath taking ceremony at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan that lasted 155 minutes. Nearly 9,000 people from all walks of life were estimated to be present for the grand event that began at 7.15 pm.

"This team of ministers is a great blend of youth and experience; we will leave no stone unturned in improving people's lives," Modi posted on X shortly after the swearing-in ceremony.

"I look forward to serving 140 crore Indians and working with the Council of Ministers to take India to new heights of progress." There were 33 first-timers with six from well-known political families. They included three former chief ministers -- Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh), Manohar Lal Khattar (Haryana) and HD Kumaraswamy (Karnataka). The new faces also included Suresh Gopi, the actor-turned-politician who scripted history by becoming the BJP's first Lok Sabha MP from Kerala.

The strength of the Modi ministry including the prime minister stood at 72 as against the maximum limit of 81.

The first meeting of the Modi cabinet is likely to be held on Monday evening at the Prime Minister's Lok Kalyan Marg residence, sources said.

All states which send four or more MPs to the 543-member Lok Sabha have found representation in the Council of Ministers besides smaller states like Goa and Arunachal Pradesh.

Bihar has scored big as among the eight ministers from the state four were given cabinet rank, including BJP's Dalit allies Chirag Paswan and Jitan Ram Manjhi, underscoring the ruling NDA's efforts to deepen its connect with the Scheduled Castes whose support to it appeared to have weakened during the polls.

Uttar Pradesh got nine berths, including one in the cabinet in Rajnath Singh while Maharashtra, which goes to the assembly polls in October, has its six MPs in the Council of Ministers.

Seven women figure among the 72 ministers, less than 10 per cent of its total strength. Some ministers, like Hardeep Singh Puri and S Jaishankar, have been elected from states different from the ones they hail from.

At least 42 ministers were from the Other Backward Class(OBC), Scheduled Caste(SC) and Scheduled Tribe(ST) category. There was no Muslim representation in the new coalition government.

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. Manjhi is also a former chief minister of Bihar.

BJP president J P Nadda also returned to the cabinet after five years.

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.

As many as 37 union ministers were dropped from the government in Modi's third term and these include seven with cabinet rank -- prominent among them being Smriti Irani, Anurag Thakur and Narayan Rane. While some of the ministers lost some emerged victorious at the hustings.

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 were present at the event.

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.

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. The BJP had to depend on its pre-poll allies to help the NDA get majority to from the government after a marathon election.

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 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.PTI TEAM ASK KR BJ ACB RT GSN GSN GSN