Indian PM Narendra Modi takes oath for third straight term

Indian PM Narendra Modi taking oath for third straight term. Photo Courtesy:  Screengrab from Prime Minister of India’s Youtube page

Narendra Modi took oath as the Prime Minister of India for the third straight term to head a coalition NDA government at the iconic Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Sunday, equalling the record of India’s first PM Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

His oath of office was administered by President Droupadi Murmu at a grand ceremony which was attended by top political leaders, MPs of India and heads of several countries including Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bhutan.

Bollywood and southern stars, including Shah Rukh Khan and Rajinikanth, and prominent industrialists like Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani attended the ceremony.

Followed by the swearing-in of PM Modi, other ministers, including Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, JP Nadda, Nirmala Sitharaman, S Jaishankar and Shiv Raj Singh Chouhan, were sworn in.

Narendra Modi returned for a rare third consecutive term in office with his allies, but fell short of an absolute majority for his BJP (240 seats as against 272 required), in an election that gave a new lease of life to a Congress-led disparate Opposition bloc- INDIA-  as the anti-Modi union halted the saffron juggernaut to under 300.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by Modi’s BJP garnered 293 seats while the opposition INDIA bloc bagged 234 in the 543-member Paliament.

In a staggered seven phase national election which concluded on June 1, the 73-year-old Narendra Modi led his National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to victory but failed to get an absolute majority for his party BJP, paving the way for the return of coalition government in India.

Among the 15 coalition parties in NDA his main allies are Telugu Desam Party (TDP) led by Chandrababu Naidu in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of Janata Dal-United (JD-U).

In a consiliatory note since the poll result which favoured a coalition government, Modi said: “We have won the majority … but to run the country it is unanimity that is crucial … we will strive for unanimity.”

Modi, who had banked on his government’s delivery of service, welfare schemes, resolute foreign policy, leadership and vaccination during the pandemic besides the building of a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya as a symbol of a Hindu resurgence in India, failed to achieve an outright majority despite a target of 370 seats for BJP alone, but equalled the record of Nehru to return as a prime minister for the third consecutive term.