Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be sworn in this evening for a second straight term after his BJP’s incredible victory in the national election. BJP president Amit Shah has made calls to leaders who will be ministers in the new government. They have been invited to the PM’s home at 5 pm, before the swearing-in.
Sources say some of the MPs who have received the all-important phone call are Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani, Sadananda Gowda, Arjun Meghwal, Kiren Rijiju, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal, Prakash Javadekar, Ramdas Athavale, Jitender Singh, Suresh Angadi, Babul Supriyo, Kailash Chowdhury, Prahlad Joshi and G Kishan Reddy.
In the past 24 hours, several meetings have been held at the homes of PM Modi and Amit Shah, who is also being talked about as one of the key inclusions in the new cabinet.
Amit Shah, who has led the party since 2014 and is credited with its spectacular run in elections, has been the PM Modi’s confidant for over two decades. He is credited with managing the party’s successful poll campaign.
Who will be finance minister is a big question after Arun Jaitley wrote to the Prime Minister yesterday saying he did not want any responsibility in the government as he needed treatment. Mr Jaitley, who was Finance Minister and also one of the chief defenders of the BJP-led government in parliament, wrote in his letter: “I am writing to you to formally request you that I should be allowed a reasonable time for myself, my treatment and my health and therefore, not be a part of any responsibility, for the present, in the new government.” Mr Jaitley is a diabetic. His health worsened after he had a kidney transplant in May last year.
PM Modi visited Mr Jaitley last evening amid reports that he wanted the veteran to reconsider his decision not to join the government.
Among the allies, the Shiv Sena has named Arvind Sawant as its nominee. The Sena’s Sanjay Raut said it had been decided that there would be one minister from each ally.
With a majority on its own, the BJP is in a position to form the government on its terms. However, sources say the party will consider upcoming state polls and the need to accommodate allies.
From the Akali Dal, Harsimrat Kaur is expected to join the government again. Tamil Nadu ally AIADMK also expects a place in the government. The party says its Rajya Sabha lawmaker Vaithilingam may join team Modi.
PM Modi began the day with a series of visits. He first visited the memorials of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat and then paid tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at his memorial Sadaiv Atal Samadhi. PM Modi also visited the National War Memorial near India Gate.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance returned to power with a massive haul of 352 seats in the Lok Sabha elections. The BJP won 303 seats on its own.
The swearing-in ceremony will take place at 7 pm in the presence of nearly 8,000 guests including leaders of BIMSTEC countries, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan.