NEW DELHI: Thundering applause and chants of “Har Har Mahadev” welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, as he took oath for his second stint as the head of the government. The two-hour swearing-in ceremony was the largest event to be held in Rashtrapati Bhavan, which witnessed the presence of around 8,000 people from all across the country. The ceremony started at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan at 7 pm as the sun shied away. Even the scorching summer could not deter the crowd as they looked pepped up when the ministers were taking oath one by one.
Smriti Irani, who received much flak during her first stint as a minister in the Modi government, was the centre of attraction on Thursday. She took oath amid applause from the crowd. The crowd was abuzz with tales of her heroic victory in Amethi where she wrested the bastion from Congress chief Rahul Gandhi. Rahul, who is adamant on his decision to quit office after his party’s debacle at the polls, had not been seen for some days. A chain of whispers broke out as Rahul walked in with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
NDA ally Janata Dal-United chief Nitish Kumar was there too, making an entry shortly after his party announced it would not be part of the government. Among those present were former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former president Pratibha Patil, veteran BJP leader L K Advani and even spiritual guru Jaggi Vasudev.
While ministers were taking the oath, the President acted as the strict teacher correcting some of them when they slipped up. Among big industrialists, Reliance Industry’s Mukesh Ambani with wife Nita and younger son Anant, veteran industry leader Ratan Tata, steel baron L N Mittal and Adani Group head Gautam Adani were present on the occasion.
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, Essar Director Prashant Ruia, Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran, Vedanta Chairman Anil Aggarwal and HDFC’s Deepak Parekh were there as well. Making a starry splash were showbiz stars who were voted into power like Hema Malini and her stepson Sunny Deol. Others like cine star Rajinikanth, filmmaker Karan Johar, Shahid Kapoor, Boney Kapoor and Kangana Ranaut added a touch of glamour. Sidharth Roy Kapur, Vivek Oberoi, Anupam Kher, and Madhur Bhandarkar were also a part of the event.