Monday, December 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Modi back in saddle
PM attends glittering swearing-in ceremony

Vinod Khanna, Juhi Chawla and Shekhar Suman acknowledge to the crowd
Bollywood stars (from right to left) Vinod Khanna, Juhi Chawla and Shekhar Suman acknowledge to the crowd during the swearing-in ceremony of caretaker Chief Minister Narendera Modi at the Sardar Patel stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday. — PTI photo

Ahmedabad, December 22
Mr Narendra Modi, who steered the BJP to a landslide victory in elections last week, was today sworn in as Gujarat Chief Minister for the second time in a public ceremony attended by thousands of persons, including Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, top BJP leadership, its allies and new-found friend Jayalalithaa.

Governor Sunder Singh Bhandari administered the oath of office to Mr Modi and 15 others at the 20-minute ceremony at Sardar Patel stadium here, unlike in Gandhinagar in the past.

Perhaps for the first time, a Prime Minister has attended the swearing-in of a Chief Minister.

Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi, BJP chief M. Venkaiah Naidu, party Chief Ministers Babulal Marandi and Manohar Parrikar, Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, supercop K.P.S. Gill, industrialist Anil Ambani and Bollywood star Juhi Chawla, besides a number of Union Ministers, also attended the function.

Amidst chants of “Jai Shri Ram”, nine Cabinet ministers and six ministers of state also took oath. They included four new faces.

The Cabinet ministers are Mr Vajubhai Vala, Mr Ashok Bhatt, Mr Kaushik Patel, Mr Anandiben Patel, Mr Narrottam Patel, Mr Ramanlal Vora, Mr Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Mr I.K. Jadeja and Mr Mangubhai Patel.

Mr Bavku Ughad, Mr Dilip Thakore, Mr Anil Patel, Mr Prabhatsinh Chauhan, Mr Amit Shah and Mr Saurabh Patel took oath as ministers of state.

The four new ministers are Mr Amit Shah, MLA from Sarkhej, Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd Chairman Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Mr Anil Patel, repesenting Mehsana, and Mr Saurabh Patel (Botand).

Mr Amit Shah, a close associate of Mr Modi, has won with highest margin in the just-concluded Assembly poll.

Mr Dilip Thakore defeated Mr Mahendrasinh Vaghela, son of Gujarat PCC president Shankersinh Vaghela, in the Sami constituency of North Gujarat.

Mr Modi has retained seven members of his previous ministry.

Finance Minister in the Keshubhai Patel government Vaju Vala, who vacated his Rajkot-II seat to enable Mr Modi to enter the state Assembly last time, and the then Cooperation Minister Ramanlal Vora were included in the ministry.

Mr Mangubhai Patel, who held independent charge of Tribal Welfare in the previous ministry, was elevated to the Cabinet rank.

Immediately after the ceremony, Mr Modi sought the blessings of the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and Mr Murli Manohar Joshi by touching their feet. The newly sworn-in ministers followed suit.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa felicitated Modi and presented him a shawl and a bouquet.

Mr Modi took the oath after 1.58 P.M. as per the auspicious “Pushya Nakshatra” and was widely cheered. BJP workers and supporters hailed him as “Gujarat ka sher” (lion of Gujarat).

Sporting saffron caps, they displayed banners that read “Narendra Modi today CM, then PM of Hindu Rashtra”.

Mr Modi, who took the oath in Gujarati, also sought the blessings of sadhus and saints.

Folk dancers from various regions of the state entertained the people at the stadium which resembled a fortress with a large number of security personnel maintaining a strict vigil.

The Congress boycotted the function, saying that the extravaganza should have been avoided when more than 4,000 villages of the state were facing a drought.

Congress Party Legislative leader Amarsinh Chaudhary said, “The government had to take two overdrafts to meet the expenses in the state after October.

Now when people don’t have adequate food and work in many villages due to drought, the swearing-in should have been a simple affair. The pompous celebration will only increase the burden on the state exchequer.”


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