5:08 am - Thursday November 5, 2015

Narendra Modi swearing-in LIVE: Nawaz Sharif arrives with ‘message of peace’

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Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has arrived at the technical Air Force base in Palam in Delhi to attend Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony. He is accompanied among others by his wife Kulsoom Nawaz and his son Hussain Nawaz.

Before his departure, the Pakistan Prime Minister told reporters in Lahore that “Pakistan wants good relations with India and I am going to New Delhi with a message of peace”.

Heads of the government of eight countries, all 777 MPs of both Houses, the outgoing PM and his council of ministers, all Governors, CMs, ambassadors and other constitutional authorities like the Chief Justice of India are among those who will attend the event.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi will also be attending.

Pakistan Prime Minsiter Nawaz Sharif, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and Maurituis Prime Minister Naveen Ramgoolam have already arrived in Delhi to take part in the ceremony.

Bangladesh Parliament Speaker Shirin Chaudhury is presenting her country as Premier Sheikh Hasina is on a visit to Japan This is the first time that the heads of states of SAARC nations have been invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony of an Indian Prime Minister.

Envoys of almost all the countries having embassies in Delhi, have been invited for the function.

The BJP Overseas Affairs an arm of the the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that maintains contact with people and political parties abroad has also invited around 90 people to the swearing-in.

Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Baba Ramdev, celebrities such as Rajinikanth, Lata Mangeshkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Pawan Kalyan, Suresh Gopi are also part of the guest list.

India Inc will also be represented in strength with Anil Ambani,Gautam Adani, Sunil Mittal, Prashant Ruia, Pawan Munjal, Ajay Sriram, Hari Bhartia and AM Naik expected to attend the grand celebrations.

Admen Piyush Pandey and Prasoon Joshi and over 300 mediapersons will also witness the swearing-in ceremony.

Given the large number of guests (approx 4000), Modi has chosen the Rashtrapati Bhavan forecourt as the venue for the swearing-in ceremony. Generally, the swearing-in is held at the historic Durbar Hall of the Parliament, the only two previous instances when it was held in the forecourt were in 1990 when Chandrashekhar became PM and in 1998, when Atal Bhari Vajpayee was sworn in as PM of the BJP-led NDA government. However, the number of guests was far lesser than what is expected today.

Earlier called the Viceroy’s court, the forecourt leads to the thirty-one broad steps which lead to the portico of the Rashtrapatu Bhavan where stands the Bull Capital of an Ashoka Pillar. The bull has the pronounced zebu hump of the cattle in India but has no horns.

The animal stands on a decorated band resting on an inverted lotus and the entire capital has been carved out of the same rock as the rest of the pillar.

In the middle of the foreground, facing the forecourt steps of Rashtrapati Bhavan, stands the Jaipur Column at a height of 146 feet. Placed on top of the Column is the Star of India. This column was presented by Major-General His Highness Sir Sewai Madho Singh Maharaj of Jaipur to commemorate the creation of the new Capital of Delhi.

The first stone of the Column was laid by King George V and his consort, Queen Mary on 15th December, 1911. Its East wall has a map of Delhi as then envisaged, carved into it.

The column bears the following inscription: “In thought faith In word wisdom In deed courage In life service So may India be great.”

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