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Narendra Modi to take oath as PM for 3rd term today; hectic parleys on to finalize cabinet

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June 9, 2024

New Delhi: Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi is set to take oath on Sunday for a third straight term, equalling the feat of the first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

President Droupadi Murmu will administer the oath to Narendra Modi and his council of ministers at 7.15 pm on Sunday, according to a statement issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan on social media platform X.

“The President, having satisfied herself based on the various letters of support received, that the BJP-led NDA alliance, which is also the largest pre-election alliance, is in a position to command majority support of the newly-constituted 18th Lok Sabha and to form a stable government, appointed Shri Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India, exercising powers vested in her under Article 75(1) of the Constitution of India,” according to a communique from the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

The communique said that the president will administer the oath of office and secrecy to the prime minister and other members of the Union Council of Ministers at 7:15 pm on Sunday at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Senior BJP leaders such as Union ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh besides party president J P Nadda have been consulting the allies, including Telugu Desam Party’s N Chandrababu Naidu, JD(U)’s Nitish Kumar, and Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde, to finalize their share of representation in the government.

There is a view that heavyweight portfolios like home, finance, defence, and external affairs besides education and culture, two ministries with strong ideological hues, will be kept by the BJP. At the same time, its allies can get anywhere between five to eight cabinet berths.

While leaders like Shah and Singh are seen within the party as a certainty in the new Cabinet, former chief ministers who have won the Lok Sabha polls like Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Basavaraj Bommai, Manohar Lal Khattar, and Sarbananda Sonowal are strong contenders for joining the government.

Ram Mohan Naidu of the TDP, Lalan Singh, Sanjay Jha and Ram Nath Thakur of the JD(U), and Chirag Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) are among the allies who may be a part of the new government, the sources said, adding that either Singh or Jha will be accommodated from the JD(U) quota.

Maharashtra, where the BJP-Shiv Sena-NCP alliance has fared poorly, and Bihar, where the opposition has shown signs of revival, may be the focus during the government-formation exercise.

Assembly polls are due in the western state in October, while polls will be held in Bihar next year.

Impending changes within the BJP’s organization will also be on the mind of its brain trust in finalizing the names of ministers from the party.

Nadda’s term was extended due to the Lok Sabha polls, and organizational imperatives will be an important consideration for the party as the poll results have sent signals that all may not be well within its vast machinery.

This opens the possibility of some seasoned hand being sent to the party and Nadda being given a berth in the government, the sources said.

The BJP is keen to send out a message of continuity and ward off any impression of political vulnerability following its surprising below-par show in the Lok Sabha polls as its seat tally fell to 240 from 303, considerably short of the majority mark of 272.

Earlier on Friday, Murmu appointed Modi as the prime minister-designate on Friday after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief J P Nadda handed her a letter on Modi’s election as the leader of the BJP Parliamentary Party and NDA leaders submitted their letters of support.

The BJP won 240 seats in the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls, falling short of the halfway mark in the 543-member House, but the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) together won 293 seats, which is a comfortable majority.

Murmu handed over the letter of appointment to Modi, who called on her at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here on Friday evening.

Earlier, leaders of the BJP-led NDA called on Murmu and handed their letters of support for Modi to her.

Addressing reporters in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Modi said he has been appointed as the prime minister-designate by the president.

“The president has asked me to work as the prime minister-designate and informed me about the oath ceremony,” he said and added that he has informed Murmu that they will be comfortable if the event is held on Sunday evening.

Modi said the Rashtrapati Bhavan will work out the details of the oath-taking ceremony on Sunday, by when he would hand over the list of the Council of Ministers to the president.

“This 18th Lok Sabha is an important milestone towards fulfilling those dreams when the country will celebrate 100 years of independence in 2047,” he said. The 18th Lok Sabha will be a House of new energy, and youthful energy, and people have given the NDA government one more chance, Modi added.

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