Modi 2.0 council of ministers: From white kurta-pyjama, Hindi dominating themes to other key highlights
Modi 2.0 cabinet: Besides 25 Cabinet ministers including Modi, Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Piyush Goyal and Jaishankar, nine were sworn in as Minister of State with Independent charge and another 24 as Minister of State.
Narendra Modi was on Thursday sworn in as the Prime Minister for a second term heading a 58-member ministry with BJP chief Amit Shah making his debut at the Centre and former foreign secretary S Jaishankar emerging as a surprise pick. Veteran party Sushma Swaraj was among the outgoing ministers who found no place. Wearing a beige Nehru jacket, Modi, 68, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by President Ram Nath Kovind at the forecourt of majestic Rashtrapati Bhavan. Besides 25 Cabinet ministers including Modi, Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Piyush Goyal and Jaishankar, nine were sworn in as Minister of State with Independent charge and another 24 as Minister of State.
White kurta-pyjama, Hindi dominating themes
Traditional Indian wear with hues of saffron and use of Hindi language for oath-taking were the overriding themes at the glittering swearing-in ceremony of the new NDA government. Among the ministers who were sworn in, most of them chose to take oath in Hindi while the rest did it in English. In a sartorial sense too, kurta-pyjama was the dominating theme as most of the MPs turned up in kurta-pyjama, colourful waistcoat or their traditional dresses, while a few chose to wear shirts and trousers.
The crowd cheered the most when Modi took his oath in Hindi and someone in the crowd shouted 'Bharat Mata Ki 'Jai' just before he was sworn-in. Dressed in crisp pyjama-kurta and a grey waistcoat, Modi, who arrived at the venue at 7 PM, greeted the people at the event with folded hands and a gentle bow as the crowd cheered him. BJP chief Amit Shah and Smriti Irani, who will make the transition from being Rajya Sabha members to that of Lok Sabha, were also greeted enthusiastically by the crowd when they came to take oath in Hindi.
The ceremony also saw many MPs donning their traditional wear for the event with white kurta-pyjama being sported by most of the newly-elected lawmakers, topped with a saffron waistcoat, while five of the women MPs who took oath -- Smriti Irani, Nirmala Sitharaman, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Debasree Chaudhuri, Renuka Singh Saruta -- wore sarees, while Harsimrat Kaur Badal wore a Punjabi salwar suit. G Kishan Reddy came wearing a traditional Telengana dress and a headgear, Kiren Rijiju sported striped northeast waistcoat, Bikaner MP Arjun Ram Meghwal took oath in traditional Rajasthani dress and a colourful Bikaneri headgear.
Smriti Irani is the youngest minister in Modi cabinet
Smriti Irani at 43 years of age has emerged as the youngest in the second Narendra Modi government's council of ministers, who with an average age of 60 years, are a shade younger than their predecessors, who had an average of 62 years. Anurag Singh Thakur, 44, Mansukh Mandaviya and Sanjeev Kumar Balayan at 46 years and Kiren Rijiju at 47 are among the youngest in the group. First time ministers Rameswar Teli and Debasree Chaudhuri are both 48 years old. In the outgoing council of ministers, former minister of state for health, Anupriya Patel, 38, was the youngest. However, she has failed to retain her berth.
BJP ally Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan is the oldest at 73 years of age. Close on his heels are Thaawar Chand Gehlot and Santosh Kumar Gangwar at 71 years. The average age of the council of ministers has decreased because many in the previous Modi government, who were over 65 years of age, are no longer part of the new one.
While senior leader Arun Jaitley, 66, has opted out of the Cabinet over ill-health, Sushma Swaraj, 67, who also had health issues, was a notable omission from the council of ministers. Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete, 68, senior Haryana leader Chaudhary Birender Singh, 73, six-time MP Radhamohan Singh, 70, former union tourism minister Alphons Kannanthanam, 65, have all lost their ministerial berths.
Senior Delhi BJP leader Vijay Goel, 65, Pon Radhakrishnan, 67, who lost the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat this time and S S Ahluwalia, 67, who won from Durgapur and a Dalit leader who won from Bijapur in Karnataka Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi, 66, have failed to find a place in the council of minister this time. Assam leader Rajen Gohain, 68, Lok Sabha MP from Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh, Virendra Kumar, 65, have also been left out.
Rajathan BJP leaders, C R Chaudhary and P P Chaudhary, 71 and 65, respectively, have been both been dropped from the government.
Notable omissions in Modi govt
Sushma Swaraj, J P Nadda, Suresh Prabhu, Maneka Gandhi, Rajyavardhan Rathore and Mahesh Sharma are among the notable omissions in the BJP-led NDA's second innings. Despite winning their seats, eight-time MP Maneka Gandhi, six-time MP Radhamohan Singh, Sharma, Jayant Sinha, Anupriya Patel, Jual Oram, Ram Kripal Yadav and Rathore lost their ministerial berths. Another key BJP leader, Nadda, who did not make it to the Cabinet this time was the health minister in the first Modi dispensation. He could be the next Bharatiya Janata Party president as incumbent Amit Shah has joined the government.
Swaraj had opted out of fighting the polls due to health reasons while Arun Jaitley, who held the finance portfolio, too decided not to be a part of the new Union cabinet as he has been unwell and needed time for his medical treatment. Others who decided not to contest were Suresh Prabhu, who held the civil aviation portfolio, Uma Bharati, the minister of drinking water and sanitation and Birender Singh, who was minister of steel - all of whom lost their ministerial berths. Manoj Sinha, the minister of state for railways, Alphons Kannanthanam, the minister of tourism with independent charge, and Hansraj Ahir, the minister of state for home, were among those who not only tasted defeat in the elections but also lost their ministerial berths.
Former bureaucrat and minister of state for urban affairs (independent charge) Hardeep Singh Puri, however, retained his berth despite losing his seat.
Other prominent faces who have failed to find a place in the council of ministers this time include Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete, senior Delhi BJP leader Vijay Goel, Pon Radhakrishnan, S S Ahluwalia and Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi, a Dalit leader from Karnataka. Assam leader Rajen Gohain, Lok Sabha MP from Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh Virendra Kumar and Rajathan leaders-- C R Chaudhary and P P Chaudhary were dropped as well.
Presence of Showbiz stars
The ceremony also witnessed showbiz stars rubbing shoulders with political leaders and corporate honchos like Ratan Tata, Muskesh Ambani and wife Nita Ambani, as they watched President Kovind administer the oath of office to India's 58 new ministers. The crowd had a lot of youth in the audience too and many of them were seen taking selfies with Olympian boxer Mary Kom, MP Tejasvi Surya from Bangalore South constituency and others. South Indian superstar Rajinikanth, Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut, Karan Johar, Asha Bhosle, Vivek Oberoi and Pallavi Joshi were also among the attendees.
ndia Inc hails new Modi cabinet
India Inc has welcomed the new term and team of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hoped that it would be able to give new impetus to the economy, which is facing slowdown in several sectors. BK Goenka, President of Assocham, said India under Prime Minister Modi was slated to undertake the next stage of reforms for becoming a global economic powerhouse.
Said Anil Agarwal, Executive Chairman of Vedanta Resources, "As the Modi government embarks on its second term, I am confident that PM Modi will take series of measures to boost economic growth, make environment more conducive for attracting FDI, including in mining, raise spending on social sector schemes and eliminate poverty."
According to Sanjiv Puri, Chairman and Managing Director of ITC, "His visionary leadership, with a clarion call to address "national ambitions, regional aspirations" will accelerate all round socio-economic development with sectors like agriculture and food processing receiving larger impetus, leading to farmer empowerment and generation of large scale sustainable livelihood."
Earlier at the pre-budget consultations, CII President Vikram Kirloskar had said, "Employment creation needs a strategic boost, including from the lens of revenue generation." In a pre-budget 2019-20 memorandum to the ministry, Ficci has warned of long-term repercussions if the serious concerns on the economy are not addressed urgently.
(Inputs from Agencies)