*** ----> Modi sworn in AFP | New Delhi for third term | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Modi sworn in AFP | New Delhi for third term

TDT | Manama     

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn in yesterday for a third term after forming a government along with coalition partners.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had landslide wins two times previously but had fallen short of an overwhelming majority this time around, defying analysts’ expectations and exit polls. He instead chose to have quick-fire talks with coalition partners in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which guaranteed him the parliamentary numbers to govern.

His office said he would appoint a 71-member cabinet, including 11 NDA ally ministers, without adding further details. Modi’s previous cabinet had 81 ministers.

Flanked by top BJP officials and party leaders of his coalition, Modi vowed in a ceremony marking his formal assumption of power to “bear true allegiance” to the constitution. Honour guards lined the steps of the presidential palace where thousands gathered to watch Modi, dressed in a flowing white kurta shirt and blue waistcoat, take the oath.


The cheering crowd also included adoring BJP loyalists, as well as celebrities such as Bollywood legend Shahrukh Khan and billionaire tycoons Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani. South Asian leaders from neighbouring Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sri Lanka attended the ceremony.

But celebrations were overshadowed after police said gunmen had ambushed a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir shortly before the ceremony began.

The bus then tumbled into a ravine killing at least nine people. Senior opposition leader, Congress party president Mallikarjun Kharge, condemned the “gruesome terror attack”, saying that Modi’s “chest-thumping propaganda of bringing peace and normalcy... rings hollow”. Larger coalition parties have demanded hefty concessions in exchange for their support.

With Modi yet to announce details of his cabinet, the line of lawmakers also taking the oath of office was keenly watched.

Power remains with BJP

Indian media reported widely that the top jobs, including the four most powerful posts, would remain in the BJP’s grip.

Modi was followed immediately by top BJP aides Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah and Nitin Gadkari -- the defence, interior and transport ministers in his last government respectively. The first among the BJP’s coalition members was H.D. Kumaraswamy from the Janata Dal (Secular) party.

Other coalition leaders to take the oath included Ram Mohan Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the largest BJP ally with 16 seats, and which India media reports has extracted four cabinet positions. Rajiv Ranjan Singh also took the oath, from the BJP’s next biggest ally the Janata Dal (United) with 12 seats, which has reportedly two minister posts.