M A I N   N E W S

Guests brave heat to keep date with history
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 26
Hot sultry Monday afternoon was hardly the perfect setting for a day out in the sun. But the heat did not deter Narendra Modi admirers who come hours before the ceremony to see the change of guard and be a part of the history.

Though the weather department had forecast a “cloudy and thundery” day, there was no such respite for the guests. Pedestal fans provided to be of little help.

So bigwigs and who’s who of the corporate, showbiz and political world used their invitation cards to keep cool till the sun finally went behind the edifice of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Red-gravelled forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan had never seen such a huge gathering at a swearing-in ceremony. The venue had become packed by 4 pm, much before the designated time — 3.30 pm for the media and 5 pm for the other guests.

Guests waited patiently till foreign dignitaries and VVIPs started arriving as per the protocol. Before Modi arrived, his special guests from abroad — Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Nepal PM Sushil Koirala, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other SAARC leaders — had taken their front-row seats. Interestingly, the loudest cheers, apart from Modi, were reserved for Sharif.

When Modi arrived just before President Pranab Mukherjee, the chants of now familiar “Modi... Modi” reverberated. Today he chose to wear a full-sleeve kurta instead of his trademark half-sleeve kurta. A golden pen in his pocket added a little glitter.

Even though the occasion was ceremonial, for BJP leaders it was a festive occasion, almost like one of Modi’s many election gatherings that the nation had witnessed over the past many months. When he was sworn in as the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy before the largest-ever gathering, shouts of “Bharat mata ki jai” and “Vande Mataram” followed.

Salman Khan and Dharmendra were spotted apart from the BJP’s in-house stars such as Vinod Khanna and Hema Malini. Industry and corporate heads rubbed shoulders with religious leaders. Also present were Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul and senior leaders P Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh, Naveen Jindal, Renuka Chowdhury and Montek Singh Ahluwalia. A galaxy of industry leaders, including Mukesh Ambani, Gautam Adani, Sunil Mittal and Ashok Hinduja were among those at the star-studded ceremony. Reliance Industries chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani, his wife Nita and two sons, his brother Anil and wife Tina and their mother Kokilaben Ambani were in attendance, as were Adani Group head Gautam Adani and his wife. Hinduja Group of Companies (India) chairman Ashok Hinduja as well as Essar head Shashi Ruia and its CEO Prashant Ruia were present.

The Mittal brothers - Sunil, Rajan and Rakesh - DLF vice-chairman Rajiv Singh, Hero MotoCorp managing director and CEO Pawan Munjal, Suzlon Group Chairman Tulsi Tanti and Videocon Group's Rajkumar Dhoot were also present.

From the aviation sector, Jet Airways founder chairman Naresh Goyal and CEO of new entrant AirAsia India Mittu Chandilya were present.


Modi's special dress

Modi chose to dress up in a full-sleeve kurta instead of his trademark half-sleeve attire for his swearing-in. His special outfit was designed by his personal tailor Bipin Chauhan. Modi teamed up his cream-coloured kurta with a pair of pyjamas and bandhgala half jacket in the light shade of brown.

Oldest & youngest in team

The youngest and the oldest members of Team Modi happen to be women - Smriti Irani and Najma Hepatullah. While Irani is 38 years old, Hepatullah is 74. Both of them are from the RS representing Gujarat and MP.

Pak channels beam ceremony

The function was shown live by Pakistani television channels highlighting the presence of various high-profile guests, including Premier Nawaz Sharif..





Mother binds Modi, Sharif
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 26
Soon after his brief conversation with Pakistan Premier Nawaz Sharif, Narendra Modi tweeted: “He (Sharif) shared some very emotional things with me. Nawaz Sharifji told me that he stays in Islamabad but goes to meet his mother once a week. This time when he was eating with his mother he saw visuals on the television of my mother offering me sweets. The visuals touched both of them. He told me that after seeing the visuals, his mother got emotional.”





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