Modi to take oath as 14th PM on Monday

May 21, 2014 - 12:00:00 am
The Prime Minister-designate, Narendra Modi, bows down in respect at the steps of the Parliament house upon his arrival to attend the BJP parliamentary party meeting in New Delhi yesterday. Modi (left) receiving a letter from President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi yesterday. 

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday formally appointed Narendra Modi as the next Prime Minister of India after the latter met him, along with senior leaders of his party and the National Democratic Alliance, and staked claim to forming a government. He will take his oath next Monday, May 26, as India’s 14th Prime Minister.

The oath-taking will take place in the expansive forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan and will be telecast live to the nation. It would be the first time, as Modi himself pointed out, that someone from the post-Independence generation would lead the country. 

“Narendra Modi, Leader of the BJP parliamentary party, called on the President today. As Narendra Modi has been elected leader of the BJP Parliamentary Party and BJP has the majority support in the House of the People, the President appointed Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India and requested him to advise the names of others to be appointed members of the council of ministers,” a communique from the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, said. 

“The President will administer the Oath of Office and Secrecy on May 26, 2014 at 6pm at Rashtrapati Bhavan,” the statement added.

Earlier, in an emotional yet euphoric moment at the Central Hall of Parliament House, Modi was unanimously elected leader of the BJP parliamentary party where he talked of “era of responsibility and hope” and said he would not disappoint his party or the country. 

Addressing the party MPs and other leaders in the Central Hall, which he visited for the first time and on the steps of which he went down on his knees in reverence to the ‘temple of democracy’, Modi said the majority given to the BJP in the Lok Sabha was “a vote for hope and faith” and said his rise from humble origins was a tribute to the greatness of Indian democracy. “A government should be one that works for the poor and this is why the new government is committed to the poor of the country and dedicated to the youth of the country as well as our mothers and daughters,” said Modi.

In his 30-minute speech, Modi, who helped his father as a tea vendor in a small town in his native Gujarat, stressed he should not be seen above the party and credited the electoral victory to its organisational strength. 

Modi became emotional and broke down when he responded to party veteran L K Advani’s remarks that he had done a favour by leading the BJP in the election, a move that Advani had initially opposed. “Please don’t use the word ‘kripa’ (favour),” Modi said, referring to Advani’s earlier remark that Modi had done a favour to the party in helping in its impressive win.

He paused for a few minutes, had a sip of water and then continued. “A son doesn’t do a favour to his mother. A son works with dedication. I treat the BJP as my mother just as India is my mother,” said Modi, almost breaking down. “The party has done me a favour by giving me an opportunity to serve.”

“The celebrations, excitement will go on but the era of responsibility has begun.” 

Modi’s name was proposed by party elder Advani and seconded by other senior leaders including Murli Manohar Joshi, M Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley. 

As Modi spoke, he was repeatedly cheered with thumping of desks. There were moist eyes with Advani also admitting that he was overwhelmed by the occasion. The BJP is returning to power after 10 long years. The BJP parliamentary party meeting was followed by that of the party-led National Democratic Alliance in which several of the 29 allies felicitated Modi. Modi said the full majority accorded to the party means “hope and trust”. “This is beginning of hope,” he said.

Modi remembered former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who is ailing, the freedom fighters and leaders who had drafted the constitution. 

Modi said he never felt dejected. “Only optimistic people can enthuse others. We have to leave pessimism,” he said.

Calling himself a disciplined soldier and vowing to work for the “poorest of the poor”, Modi said he would present his government’s report card in 2019, exactly five years from now. IANS

PMO changes Twitter handle

New Delhi: The Prime Minister’s Office yesterday changed its Twitter handle, six days before BJP leader Narendra Modi takes oath, provoking the BJP to term it “disgraceful, unethical and illegal”. The Twitter handle, @PMOIndia, which was begun during the tenure of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was changed to @PMOIndiaArchive. The original @PMOIndia was left blank, minus text or any display picture. IANS

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