Narendra Modi sworn in as India’s 15th Prime Minister

Indrajit S Saluja

NEW DELHI (TIP): Narendra Modi has taken over as Prime Minister of India, with tons of good wishes of the people of India and people of Indian origin all across the world. At the same time, their expectation level touches the skies. They see in Modi a man who will pluck stars from the skies for them. Too tall an order. This expectation level puts an extra responsibility and pressure on Modi to perform.

People have voted for Modi and given him unprecedented mandate to govern well -keep his word of providing “sushasan” – and rid country of the evils that have forced them to lead a harsh living for decades. People of India look for deliverance from the man they believe is a performer. Pranab Mukherji, President of Republic of India, administered the oath of office to Narendra Damodardas Modi at about 6.10 P.M. on May 26 in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan in the presence of more than 4000 invited guests that included leaders of all seven South Asian countries as well as Mauritius.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif joined other regional leaders at the ceremony in Delhi’s Rashtrapati Bhavan. It is the first time since the two countries won independence in 1947 that a prime minister from one nation has attended such a ceremony in another’s. Besides Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, other regional leaders attending the ceremony included Sri Lanka’s President Melinda Rajapaksa, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Maldives’ President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

Bangladesh was represented by Speaker Shirin Chaudhury as PM Sheikh Hasina was traveling to Japan at the time of the swearing-in ceremony. Tight security and traffic restrictions were imposed in Delhi and all offices around Rashtrapati Bhavan were closed hours before the event took place. Narendra Damodardas Modi led his BJP party to a landslide win in the recent elections.

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The BJP won the biggest victory (282 seats) and, with its partners in National Democratic Alliance (336 seats) by any party in India in the last 30 years, gaining a majority in parliament and trouncing the outgoing Congress Party. The highest ever number of seats won by a political party since 1950 when the Constitution of India was adopted and the first elections held in 1952 , is the Indian National Congress that had won 415 seats in 1984. But what a fall for the party from 415 to 44.

It was a moment of great pride for 89 year old Ashtray Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) founded in 1925, which has its first Pracharak to become the Prime Minister of India. Modi joined RSS in childhood, at the age of 8, and became a full time Pracharak in 1970. Of the 23 cabinet ministers sworn in on Monday, 17 have their roots in the RSS and affiliates. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is effectively the political wing of the RSS.

Many of the 22 junior ministers are also linked to the movement. “Modi, the BJP and the RSS, it’s not right to treat them separately, his is a leaf from the same branch. They can’t be separated from each other, they complement each other,” said Dinesh Sharma, a BJP leader and RSS member in Uttar Pradesh.

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