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Modi to be sworn in as Prime Minister today

By PTI Updated: May 30, 2019 1:52 am
Narendra Modi (PTI)

New Delhi, May 29 (PTI): Capping a landslide election victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take oath along with a new council of ministers on Thursday for a second term, as suspense mounted on who will get the Big Four berths–Home, Finance, Defence and External Affairs.

Top opposition leaders including Congress President Rahul Gandhi and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, corporate honchos, film stars, chief ministers and a galaxy of leaders from BIMSTEC countries will be on hand to watch President Ram Nath Kovind administer the oath of office and secrecy to 68-year-old Modi and his ministerial colleagues at the forecourt of majestic Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Modi and BJP president Amit Shah held a marathon meeting for the second consecutive day on Wednesday during which they are learnt to have finalised the broad contours the new ministry that is expected to have some new faces besides retaining most of the senior ministers.

Though there is an intense buzz that Shah, credited for crafting the political strategy for the BJP, may be part of the new government and be given a plum portfolio, there was no clarity yet on him making a ministerial debut at the Centre. There was also speculation that Shah might continue as BJP chief since Assembly elections in some key states are due to be held in the next one year.

Many BJP leaders are of the view that most key members of the previous Cabinet could be retained.

Senior members like Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan, Narendra Singh Tomar and Prakash Javadekar are likely to retain their place. Irani, who defeated Rahul Gandhi in his home turf of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh to earn the tag of giant killer, is expected to get a key portfolio.

A day before the swearing-in ceremony, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley wrote to Modi saying he does not want to be a minister in the new government on health grounds.

As far as allies are concerned, both the Shiv Sena and the JD(U) are expected to get two berths (one cabinet and one MoS) each, while the LJP and the SAD may be given one berth each.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had a meeting with Shah on Wednesday and the two leaders are understood to have discussed JD(U)’s representation in the government

Lok Janshakti Party on Tuesday passed a resolution, recommending its president Ram Vilas Paswan as the party’s representative in the Modi government.

The AIADMK, which was also not part of the previous government, won only one seat. It may be given a ministerial berth as it is in power in Tamil Nadu besides being a key Dravidian ally of the BJP.

When Modi is sworn-in at around 7 pm, it will be the second time he takes the oath at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan.


Where to watch live

The swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Council of ministers will be telecast live on all Doordarshan channels on May 30 from 6.30 pm. The ceremony will also be live streamed on Doordarshan’s YouTube channel.


J.P. Nadda to succeed Amit Shah

New Delhi, May 29 (IANS): With BJP organisational architect Amit Shah set to join the Cabinet, the decks are being cleared for the baton to be handed over to Health Minister J.P. Nadda as the new President.

Nadda is expected to work closely with Shah even after the latter demits office for the election whirligig simply doesn’t end.

Once the Union Budget is out of the way on July 10 (in all probability), then sometime in September this year, three states will go to the polls — Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana.

Nadda will then oversee the election campaign strategy. Thereafter there is a possibility of polls in Jammu and Kashmir and even a highly wobbly Karnataka where the coalition appears to be skating on thin ice. Early next year, the battle for Delhi will gain precedence over everything else.

Fifty nine-year-old Nadda is a Brahmin and a Rajya Sabha member who keeps a low profile but is also parliamentary board secretary of the BJP. Nadda is known as a master strategist in his party. The party had given him charge of Uttar Pradesh in the recently concluded hustings. The party bagged 62 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats. Apna Dal bagged two against a caste calculus driven combine of BSP and SP.

By PTI Updated: May 30, 2019 1:52:29 am