Modi begins historic third term as India’s Prime Minister

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Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP, Draupadi Murmu

Narendra Modi, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been sworn in as the prime minister of India for a historic third consecutive term. This milestone marks Modi as the first Indian premier to serve three consecutive terms since Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first prime minister, who led India from its independence in 1947 until his death in 1964. The swearing-in ceremony, held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, was attended by Indian President Draupadi Murmu and dignitaries from around the world.

The BJP secured a plurality in the recently concluded elections, winning 240 seats in the 543-member parliament. However, this fell short of the majority threshold, necessitating coalition negotiations. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as a whole secured 293 seats, providing a comfortable majority over the opposition. Despite not achieving a landslide victory as in previous elections, the BJP managed to consolidate its position through quick negotiations with its coalition partners.

A resurgent opposition, led by the Congress Party under the INDIA bloc, garnered 232 seats. Reports suggested that the opposition reached out to key NDA allies, including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of Janata Dal (United) and incoming Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu of The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), in a bid to form a government. However, both leaders reaffirmed their support for the NDA, ensuring Modi’s unanimous election as the NDA leader.

On June 8, Modi convened an 11-hour marathon meeting with his allies to finalize the new cabinet. Emphasizing efficiency and accountability, he instructed the newly proposed ministers to focus on governance and ensure timely completion of projects. Key members of the previous cabinet, such as Home Minister Amit Shah, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, Roads and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, retained their portfolios. BJP President J.P. Nadda also took the oath as a federal minister, underscoring continuity and stability within the administration.

The swearing-in ceremony witnessed a record attendance of over 8,000 dignitaries, including prominent Indians from various fields such as law, medicine, arts, and culture. In a move reflecting Modi’s inclusive approach, employees of Indian Railways, sanitation workers, laborers, and tribal women were also invited to the event.

Leaders from several neighboring countries, including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Mauritius, and Seychelles, attended the inauguration. Notably, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, perceived as pro-China in New Delhi, marked his first visit to India since his election last November. Muizzu expressed optimism about strengthening ties with India, describing the bilateral relationship as moving in a positive direction. His presence was seen as a symbolic gesture amid the nuanced diplomatic relations between the two nations.

Additionally, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina attended the oath-taking ceremony of Narendra Modi as the prime minister of India for a third consecutive term. She joined the oath-taking ceremony as the third foreign leader at the Rashtrapati Bhavan with her daughter Saima Wazed. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi exchanged pleasantries after Modi’s swearing-in ceremony. The foreign leaders, including the Bangladesh Prime Minister, went to the oath-taking podium to greet Modi one after another as he took oath as the Indian premier for a third consecutive term. As the Bangladesh premier, clad in light purple, approached her Indian counterpart, Modi extended his hand to Sheikh Hasina. They shook hands and exchanged brief pleasantries and inquired about each other.

During the ceremony, Modi, flanked by officials from his party and coalition members, vowed to “bear true allegiance to the constitution of India.” His commitment to uphold the nation’s constitutional values was underscored by the elaborate ceremony, complete with honor guards and a military brass band. Despite the BJP’s diminished majority, Modi’s leadership remains unchallenged within the party and the NDA. His ability to navigate coalition dynamics and secure the loyalty of key allies demonstrates his political acumen. Analysts suggest that this term will likely focus on furthering economic reforms, infrastructure development, and enhancing India’s global stature.

Modi’s third term comes with both significant challenges and opportunities. The coalition government will have to balance the demands of its various partners, some of whom are seeking high-level cabinet posts. Ensuring cohesive governance while managing these internal dynamics will be crucial for the administration. Moreover, the government is expected to continue its emphasis on economic growth, digital transformation, and infrastructure development. Modi’s previous terms saw significant initiatives such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) reform, the Make in India campaign, and the expansion of digital services. Building on these foundations, the government aims to further enhance India’s global economic position.

On the international front, Modi’s third term will likely see continued efforts to bolster India’s strategic partnerships, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region. Strengthening ties with neighboring countries and addressing regional security concerns will remain high on the agenda. The presence of international leaders at Modi’s swearing-in ceremony underscores the importance of India’s relationships with its neighbors and other global players.

Domestically, Modi’s administration is expected to prioritize addressing economic challenges, including unemployment, inflation, and agricultural distress. The government will likely continue its push for infrastructure development, including the expansion of highways, railways, and digital connectivity. Modi’s vision of transforming India into a global manufacturing hub will also be a focal point, building on the successes of the Make in India initiative.

Social policies will also be under scrutiny, with expectations for continued efforts towards improving healthcare, education, and social welfare programs. Modi’s previous terms saw significant steps towards improving sanitation, housing, and financial inclusion. The administration will need to build on these achievements to meet the aspirations of a diverse and growing population.

Narendra Modi’s historic third term as India’s prime minister marks a significant chapter in the nation’s political landscape. His leadership, characterized by a blend of economic reform and nationalist rhetoric, continues to resonate with a large segment of the Indian populace. As Modi embarks on this new term, the nation and the world will be watching closely to see how his administration addresses the multifaceted challenges ahead and seizes the opportunities to further India’s growth and development on the global stage. The success of his government will depend on its ability to deliver on its promises, manage coalition dynamics, and navigate the complex international environment.

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