Arc lights bathed the facade of the Rashtrapati Bhavan in a warm, amber glow as the Sunday sun set on a warm Delhi evening. At the foot of the Tuscan pillars, on a broad stage, sat Draupadi Murmu, the president. To his left were dozens of women and men who would govern the country in an array of ministerial roles over the next five years.

President Draupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers at the swearing-in ceremony of the new Union government at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Sunday in New Delhi.  (PTI)
President Draupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers at the swearing-in ceremony of the new Union government at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Sunday. (PTI)

The audience roared. World leaders, seasoned politicians, Supreme Court judges, businessmen, actors, musicians, dignitaries, sanitation workers, construction workers and rat-snapping miners have flocked to the imposing steps of the Presidential Palace and the towering columns of Jaipur. Sandwiched in between made the 8,000-strong crowd.

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The makeshift field was bordered by manicured trees. The audience included many people who had come from all over India and indeed Asia for this momentous occasion. When the temperature once again exceeded 40 degrees Celsius, the sprinkler fans went into overdrive.

Around 7.15pm the humming died down. Narendra Modi, dressed in a white kurta and churidar, with a blue checked jacket, left his seat and walked towards the lectern. This was followed by great applause.

“I, Narendra Damodardas Modi…,” he began, taking his oath of office for a record-equalling third consecutive term as Prime Minister of India, to cheers from excited onlookers.

In the next few hours, 30 cabinet ministers, five ministers of state (independent charge) and 36 ministers of state followed Modi as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government was formed.

They swore true faith and allegiance to the Constitution, to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, to discharge their duties with integrity and honesty and to do justice to all people without fear and danger according to the Constitution and the law. , love or illicit desire.

And as they took the oath, they were watched by a galaxy of guests.

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Seven leaders of South East Asia, President of Maldives Muhammad Muizhu, Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, President of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickramasinghe, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Kumar Jagannath, His Bhutanese counterpart Tshering Tobge and Vice President of the Republic of Seychelles Ahmed Afif attended the grand ceremony.

The star-studded crowd included actors Shah Rukh Khan, Rajinikanth, Anil Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Raveena Tandon, Anupam Kher and Vikrant Massey, filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani, industrialist Mukesh Ambani, his sons Anant and Akash, as well as his sons-in-law. were Anand Piramal, and Gautam Adani.

Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud attended the program along with his wife. Apart from former Presidents Ram Nath Kovind and Pratibha Patil, senior BJP leader Murali Manohar Joshi and MPs and party workers were also present.

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Congress President and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjan Kharge, was the lone opposition representative, as the rest of the Indian bloc was not part of the event.

Transgender women, Delhi sanitation workers and laborers helping to build the new Parliament building were also invited.

Among them was Angad Kumar Paswan (28), who worked on the central government’s ambitious Central Vista project.

“I still can’t believe that I will witness the grand swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan,” said Paswan, who hails from Jharkhand’s Garhwa district, holding up his invitation like a trophy.

Around 10 p.m., as the dais emptied and the crowd thinned, warm lights illuminated the solitude. It was curtains on the ceremony. The stage was set for the next five years.

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