9:27 pm - Wednesday November 4, 2015

Modi set to take oath as PM, Arun Jaitley likely to get additional charge of defence

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Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in New Delhi on Monday to attend Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony as India’s 15th PM. Sources said 24 Cabinet ministers, 10 Ministers of State with independent charge and 11 Ministers of State are expected to be sworn in on Monday evening.

Arun Jaitley is likely to get additional charge of Defence Ministry and is also tipped to be Finance Minister.

“Pakistan wants good relations with India and I am going to New Delhi with a ‘message of peace'”, Sharif was quoted as saying by the PTI before he left Pakistan.

Modi and Sharif will have a “short, courtesy” meeting on the morning of May 27 and are expected to steer clear of any acrimonious issues leaving long-standing disputes to be tackled in later formal bilateral talks.

The Pakistan PM is accompanied by wife Kulsoom Nawaz and son Hussain Nawaz.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa also arrived in New Delhi for Modi’s swearing-in ceremony.

Rajapaksa, a nationalistic leader, was among the first leaders to reach out to Modi after election victory. But after an invitation was extended to him, Tamil Nadu erupted in protest.

Names of 24 Cabinet ministers:

Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Venkiah Naidu, DV Sadanand Gowda, Ram Vilas Paswan, Gopinath Munde, Kalraj Mishra, Maneka Gandhi, Ananthkumar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ashok Gajapati Raju, Ananth Gite, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Narendra Singh Tomar, Joel Oram, Thavarchand Gehlot, Smriti Irani, Uma Bharti, Najma Heptullah, Radha Mohan, Harsh Vardhan.

10 Ministers of State, Independent

General VK Singh, Santosh Gangwar, Sripad Naik, Dharmendra Pradhan, Sarbananda Sonowal, Prakash Javadekar, Piyush Goel,
Jitendra Singh, Nirmala Seetharaman, Rao Inderjit

11 Ministers of State

GM Siddeshwara, Manoj Sinha, Upendra Kushwaha, Radhakrishnan P, Kiren Rijiju, Krishan Pal Gujar, Sanjeev Kumar, Balyan Mansukhbhai Baswa, Rao Sahab Dhanwe, Vishnudev, Sudarshan Bhagat

Several BJP leaders, including Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, met Modi ahead of his swearing-in ceremony.

Other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nirmala Sitharaman, Uma Bharti, Najma Heptullah, Ananth Kumar, Maneka Gandhi, Harsh Vardhan also met Modi at the Gujarat Bhawan in Delhi.

“It was just an informal meeting over tea,” said Najma Heptullah after the meeting.

Leaders of BJP allies too met Modi. Among the allies were leaders of Rashtriya Lok Samata Party and Ram Vilas Paswan of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).

Chief minister J Jayalalithaa has decided to stay away from the event to protest his presence.

MDMK chief Vaiko, who on Friday met Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh and lodged his protest against an invitation extended to Rajapaksa for Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, led protests on Monday as well.

Vaiko was the first to raise the demand that Rajapaksa not be allowed to participate in Modi’s swearing-in ceremony.

India’s ties with Sri Lanka had always been swayed by the domestic politics of Tamil Nadu.

But Modi, given the BJP majority in Parliament, is not dependent on Tamil parties to run the government and is expected to follow a more independent policy on Lanka.

The India-Sri Lanka ties, which had hit a rough patch over India’s vote against Colombo at the UN Human Rights Council, have been on the mend.

Last time, India had abstained from the vote, much to the satisfaction of Sri Lanka.

On Thursday, the DMK, too, criticised the invitation and said it will hurt Tamil sentiments.

Mauritius Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam and Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala also reached Delhi to attend the ceremony.

Ahead of being sworn in as India’s 15th Prime Minister, Modi paid a visit to the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi and spent around 10 minutes at the Rajghat.

Modi, who led the Bharatiya Janata Party to a spectacular victory in the Lok Sabha polls, will be sworn in later in evening in the forecourt of the majestic Rashtrapati Bhawan at a grand function to be attended by foreign dignitaries including SAARC leaders.

President Pranab Mukherjee will administer the oath of office and secrecy to Modi and his council of ministers.

Outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, besides leaders of various other parties and chief ministers of a number of states will be present during the ceremony.

Sharif and seven other regional leaders will attend the function and then move to attend the grand banquet hosted by President Mukherjee the same evening.

The leaders will then have private meetings with new Indian PM Modi at Hyderabad House on Tuesday morning and then depart from Delhi after saying goodbye to President Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

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