M A I N   N E W S

NaMo swearing-in on May 26
President appoints Narendra Damodardas Modi Prime Minister after BJP Parliamentary Party and NDA endorse him their leader
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Forecourts in forefront
The swearing-in will take place in the forecourts of Rashtrapati Bhavan
Modi will be the third PM, after Chandra Shekhar and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to take oath there
Rajnath Singh has said the party will invite around 3,000 dignitaries to the ceremony
Rashtrapati Bhavan’s ‘Durbar Hall’, the traditional venue, can accommodate only 500 people

New Delhi, May 20
Sixty-three-year-old Gujarat strongman Narendra Damodardas Modi who led the BJP to a historic victory in the 16th Lok Sabha elections will be sworn in as India’s 14th Prime Minister on May 26.

President Pranab Mukherjee today appointed him as the Prime Minister and “requested him to advise the names of others to be appointed as members of the Council of Ministers”.

Soon after BJP’s Parliamentary Party elected Modi as the leader in the Central Hall, constituents of the NDA endorsed the decision.

Modi termed the 2014 election results a vote for new hope and people’s aspirations, and promised to live up to their expectations. He also spelled out his vision for the 2019 General Election.

Modi later called on Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan where the President invited him to form the government. After the meeting, Modi displayed the President’s letter appointing him to the top post to mediapersons.

Earlier, a 15-member NDA delegation, led by party veteran LK Advani and including SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal, his son Sukhbir Badal, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackaray and LJP president Ramvilas Paswan, called on Mukherjee to inform him about Modi’s election as the leader of the alliance.

Though the allies gave their letters of support, the President is learnt to have taken note of only the number of BJP MPs in appointing Modi as the Prime Minister.

The BJP and its NDA allies may have a combined haul of 336 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, but the saffron party on its own has 282 members, 10 more than the half-way mark. The oath-taking ceremony will take place in the forecourts of the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the BJP plans to send invites to around 3,000 guests. Before leaving for Gujarat, Modi’s message to the new MPs was clear that they should not be lobbying for ministerial posts. “Padbhar se bara hota hai karyabhar (responsibility is bigger than post),” he said in a clear message to all those lobbying for ministerial berths.

Suspense continues on Modi’s pick for his ministry. Sources say a few people know the exact contours of his Council of Ministers — perhaps key aide Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and top brass of the RSS, the party’s ideological fountainhead.

Speculations are rife that Modi may keep the crucial portfolio of Home Ministry. Rajnath Singh, who is said to be keen to be projected as No. 2 in the government, is also believed to be interested in the Home Ministry. But he may take the Defence Ministry if Modi decides to keep internal security with the PMO.

Senior leader Arun Jaitley may be offered the Finance Ministry or the External Affairs Ministry. Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is expected to get a big role, may land Law or Information and Broadcasting Ministry. Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who visited Modi today, is also said to be among the probables.

Sushma Swaraj, who is keen on four top ministers, is believed to have conveyed her readiness to work in a suitable position. She is likely to get Health or HRD Ministry.

Delhi leader Harshwardhan, a professional doctor, is also being seen as the front-runner for Health Minister. PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss, who is also a doctor, is another contender for the ministry.

While Advani is being seen as a strong contender for Lok Sabha Speaker, sources say he may be asked to be the “guiding light” for the party and stay put till the post of country’s President falls vacant.





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