Narendra Modi returns as PM for third straight term, equals Nehru’s record


modi oath

President Droupadi Murmu administers the oath of office to Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, on the Rashtrapati Bhavan forecourt in New Delhi on Sunday


Equals Nehru’s record, 73-yr-old to head coalition govt for first time

 


61 of 72 in council of ministers from BJP  Five, NDA allies get one Cabinet berth each

 


Sitharaman, Goyal, Vaishnaw retained, Nadda back in Cabinet, Chouhan joins 


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday evening took the oath of office as the head of a 72-member Council of Ministers for a third successive term. Five of the 30 Cabinet berths went to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) allies.

 


 In total, 30 Cabinet ministers, five ministers of state with independent charge and 36 ministers of state were administered the oath of office at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. The first meeting of the new Union Cabinet is likely to be held on Monday evening.

 


If allotting a total of 11 berths to the allies reflected the exigencies of coalition politics,the induction of most of the experienced ministers from the previous government showcased continuity, expertise and experience, several of whom have been part of the PM’s team for the past 10 years.

 


Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, J P Nadda, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Nirmala Sitharaman, and S Jaishankar, in that order, were the first to take the oath of office, after the prime minister’s swearing-in. Nadda’s return to the Union Council of Ministers suggests that the BJP would be looking for a new national president.

 


Chouhan is one of the six former chief ministers in the Cabinet; the others are Uttar Pradesh’s Rajnath Singh, Haryana’s Manohar Lal Khattar, Assam’s Sarbananda Sonowal, Bihar’s Jitan Ram Manjhi, and Karnataka’s HD Kumaraswamy.

 


In the 72-member Council of Ministers, 24 states are represented. Of the ministers, 27 are from Other Backward Classes (OBCs), 10 Scheduled Castes (SCs), five Scheduled Tribes (STs), and five minorities.

 


As many as 43 ministers have served three terms or more in Parliament, and 39 have had previous stints as ministers; 34 have been legislators in state Assemblies.

 

An estimated 10,000 people, from heads of state and government from India’s neighbourhood to construction workers, women loco pilots of Vande Bharat Express, film stars, and corporate leaders attended the ceremony, which saw President Droupadi Murmu administering the oath of office to the PM and his ministers — 33 of whom are first-timers. Seven first-time ministers in the new Modi government belong to the allies.

ALSO READ: Colours of consensus: Era of coalition govt returns to Indian politics

 


The Nationalist Congress Party-led by Ajit Pawar has no representation among Modi’s ministers.

 


It is the biggest Council of Ministers to take the oath of office in recent decades. In 2014, the prime minister, who promised “maximum governance, minimum government”, took the oath of office with 45 ministers; the number was 58 five years later. At its biggest, in July 2021, the Modi Council of Ministers was 78-member strong.

 


According to the Constitution, the size of a Council of Ministers cannot exceed 15 per cent of the strength of the House of Representatives. In its choice of ministers, the BJP has accommodated ministers from poll-bound states, such as Maharashtra, Jharkhand, and Haryana. It has also given space to ministers from states where it has done well, such as Odisha, Telangana and Kerala, but also where it hopes to expand its footprint.

 


The BJP inducted Suresh Gopi, the actor-turned politician who won from Thrissur, the party’s first Lok Sabha success in the state, but also gave representation to George Kurian. From Punjab, the party has inducted Ravneet Singh Bittu, the grandson of Punjab’s former Chief Minister Beant Singh, He contested from Ludhiana and lost to Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring by over 20,000 votes. Raksha Khadse, the daughter-in-law of senior NCP leader Eknath Khadse, who played a key role in expanding the BJP in Maharashtra, was sworn in as Union minister.

 


Before the oath-taking ceremony, the PM met some of the ministers over tea in the afternoon. He advised them to be humble as common people love those who are humble and never compromise on probity and transparency. Modi asked them to be courteous, respect government employees and officers, and work with team spirit.

 


Corporate leaders, including Mukesh Ambani, Anant Ambani, Gautam Adani, and Kumaramangalam Birla, attended the ceremony as did film actors Rajinikanth and Shah Rukh Khan. From India’s neighbourhood, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, Nepal PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, and others attended.

 


The only omissions from the previous Council of Ministers, of those who had won the Lok Sabha polls, were Anurag Thakur, Parshottam Rupala, and Narayan Rane. Of the 17 ministers who lost the Lok Sabha polls, all were omitted, such as Smriti Irani and R K Singh. The only exception was L Murugan, who lost from Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu, but is a Rajya Sabha member.

First Published: Jun 09 2024 | 11:43 PM IST



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