Yes, Prime Minister
Along with Modi, 23 ministers with cabinet rank, 10 ministers of state with independent charge and 11 ministers of state were sworn in. President Pranab Mukherjee administered the oath of office and secrecy to Modi and his cabinet colleagues in the colourful ceremony.
Dressed in a full-sleeved kurta, beige Nehru jacket and white pajama, Modi took the oath of office and secrecy in Hindi, amidst laud applause from a cheering crowd which included foreign dignitaries, personalities from the film industry, leading industrialists and party workers. Party president Rajnath Singh was sworn in after Narendra Modi. He is expected to be given home ministry. Senior leader Arun Jaitley would hold charge of finance and defence, Sushma Swaraj gets external affairs, Ravi Shankar Prasad law and telecom, Dr. Harsh Vardhan health, Nitin Gadkari transport and shipping, Prakash Javadekar information and broadcasting and Nirmala Sitharaman is MoS (independent charge) commerce.
Despite enjoying absolute majority in the Lok Sabha, Modi decided to reward significant pre-poll allies including a member each from Shromani Akali Dal, Telugu Desam Party, Shiv Sena and Lok Janshakti Party. While TDP Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju was inducted from TDP, Ramvilas Paswan (LJP), Harsimran Kaur (SAD) and Anant Geete were also inducted.
The biggest surprise was the induction of Smriti Irani as cabinet minister. Expected to get the human resource development ministry, she has been rewarded for taking on Rahul Gandhi. For the first time, the union cabinet would have more than one-fourth female members. Some of the prominent leaders lost out as 75 years was decided to be the cut-off date.
Those losing on this count included Murli Manohar Joshi, Gen BC Khanduri and Dr CP Thakur.
While induction of Rajnath, Jaitley, Sushma, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nitin Gadkari and Harsh Vardhan among others in the cabinet was a foregone conclusion, the selection of Uma Bharti and Najma Heptualla came as a big surprise. The other woman member in the cabinet is Maneka Gandhi. The decision to have Sushma Swaraj sworn in right after Rajnath also indicated that Modi decided to be sagacious with his bitter rival within the party.‘Modi ji tried to accommodate most of us and I don’t think anyone should have any problem with the list of the ministers,’ a party leader said.
The induction of Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan as ministers with independent charge likely to look after important economic ministries indicated that Modi wants to handle the scam-tainted coal, power and petroleum ministries through leaders with a clean slate. The other leaders who made it to the list includes veterans like M Venkaiah Naidu (urban development ministry and parliamentary affairs), and Ananth Kumar and former Karnatak chief minister Sadanand Gowda (Railways ministry).
Former army chief V K Singh got twin responsibilities as MoS (MEA) and MoS independent in-charge of north east, according to sources.
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