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India’s Modi sworn in as PM for third term

by The Bangla Herald

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn in on Sunday for a third term after worse-than-expected election results left him reliant on coalition partners to govern.

Modi, flanked by officials from his Hindu-nationalist party and leaders his coalition members, vowed in a ceremony marking his formal assumption of power to “bear true allegiance to the constitution of India”.

Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled outright for the past decade but failed to repeat its previous two landslide wins this time around, defying analysts’ expectations and exit polls.

He was instead forced into quick-fire talks with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), a 15-member coalition, to gather the parliamentary numbers needed to govern.

Honour guards lined the steps of the presidential palace and a military brass band played as he made the oath.

But with Modi yet to announce his new cabinet, the line of lawmakers also taking the oath of office was keenly watched for an indication of who will be in government.

Modi was followed immediately by top BJP aides Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah and Nitin Gadkari — the defence, interior and transport ministers in his last government respectively.

Larger coalition parties have demanded hefty concessions in exchange for their support.

Modi described recent days as “very busy” in an article published on his website Sunday ahead of the ceremony, saying he was in the “midst of preparations of government formation”.

Wearing a gleaming white kurta flowing shirt and trousers, Modi was the first of several ministers and deputy ministers sworn in by President Droupadi Murmu at the ceremony attended by several thousand people.

The crowd included adoring BJP loyalists, as well as South Asian leaders, Bollywood celebrities such as legend Shahrukh Khan, and billionaire tycoons Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani, key Modi allies.

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