New Delhi, May 20: Narendra Modi will be sworn in Prime Minister on May 26 at the open forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan at 6pm.
The venue has been chosen to accommodate the expected guest list of 3,000 from the BJP. The Durbar Hall, usually the place for such events, could not have accommodated so many invitees.
An NDA delegation, led by BJP president Rajnath Singh and which included leaders of the Akali Dal, Telugu Desam Party, Shiv Sena, Lok Janshakti Party and the Nagaland People’s Party, met President Pranab Mukherjee to formally communicate that Modi had been elected leader of the BJP-NDA parliamentary party. Modi later called on the President, who appointed him Prime Minister.
As Modi is expected to be sworn in with a small council of ministers, the NDA’s allies were in the dark on what they could expect. The Akali Dal was non-committal on joining the government. Punjab chief minister and Akali Dal president Parkash Singh Badal was quoted as saying two days ago that he would not seek a berth in the cabinet.
Akali Dal Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Gujral, however, said: “I don’t think he (Badal) has said ‘no’. It’s only in the media.”
BJP sources said their information was the Akali Dal was “embarrassed” after an indifferent showing in the elections, compounded by the defeat of BJP leader Arun Jaitley in Amritsar.
The 18-MP Sena has conveyed to Modi its wish to be part of his government. Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray, who was in Delhi to attend the NDA parliamentary party meeting, met Modi for about half an hour separately. Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut claimed: “There was no specific offer from him and there was no demand from our side.”
Desam MP C.M. Ramesh said party chief N. Chandrababu Naidu met Modi for over 30 minutes. Naidu, whose party has 16 MPs, later said: “We are joining the government.”
BJP sources said Modi would not have committed himself on the minutiae of sharing berths with the NDA leaders because he was in the process of firming up inductions from the BJP. “Only Modi knows who he wishes to induct,” a source said.
The presence of Arun Shourie, a minister in the Vajpayee government who quit the BJP after 2004, sparked a buzz. Sources said Modi admired Shourie’s “erudition” and “insights” and might even regard him as an “asset”.
Minutes after Jitan Ram Manjhi was sworn in as chief minister of Bihar today, Modi congratulated him on Twitter. “I... assure support in development of Bihar,” he said.