Show of strength at Modi swearing in; Centre downplays presence of leading politicians

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 26, 2012 17:50 hrs

New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday downplayed the presence of leading political leaders at the swearing-in function of Narendra Modi, who assumed office of Chief Minister of Gujarat for the fourth consecutive time.

"I don't think it is essential to tilt at windmills and read too much and extrapolate too much on certain people congregating for what is a formal ceremony of assumption of office," Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told reporters here.

He was asked whether the presence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at Modi's swearing-in was an indication towards political alignments for the 2014 general elections.

Also in attendance at the function were Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, Indian National Lok Dal leader Om Prakash Chautala, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, his cousin and MNS chief Raj Thackeray and RPI leader Ramdas Athawale, besides the BJP leadership.

"I think it eventually depends on the state government concerned or the chief ministers concerned on whom he chooses to invite and whom he chooses not to invite, who chooses to attend and who chooses not to attend," Tewari said.

Modi's swearing-in ceremony was boycotted by Congress and NDA constituent JD(U). Though an NDA partner, JD(U) had contested the Gujarat elections separately and won one seat.

Modi was sworn in as Chief Minister for the fourth time at the head of a 17-member ministry at a public ceremony in Ahmedabad.

Jayalalithaa travels to Ahmedabad to congratulate Modi

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Wednesday said that she went to Ahmedabad for Narendra Modi's swearing-in-ceremony to congratulate him on his emphatic victory in the Gujarat assembly elections.

"I went to congratulate Narendra Modiji in person on his tremendous victory in Gujarat and offer my best wishes," she told mediapersons here.

Jayalalithaa's presence at Modi's crowning moment in Ahmedabad fuelled speculations about a possible realignment of her AIADMK with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Modi today took oath as Gujarat's Chief Minister for the fourth consecutive time at Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad . He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Gujarat Governor Dr. Kamala Beniwal.

Modi was sworn in along with seven ministers of Cabinet rank and nine Ministers of State at an impressive ceremony here in the presence of a host of top BJP leaders, including Sushma Swaraj, L.K Advani, Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh, Venkaiah Naidu, Ananth Kumar and Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, Indian National Lok Dal leader Om Prakash Chautala, former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje and Shiv Sena's Executive President were also present during the swearing-in ceremony.

Having secured an electoral hat-trick, Modi had earlier thanked the people of the state for giving the BJP another chance to form the government.

Ally JD(U), Opp boycott ceremony

Modi was sworn in as Chief Minister for the fourth time in a ceremony boycotted by Opposition Congress and NDA ally JD(U).

Modi was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Kamla Beniwal at a public ceremony marked by the presence of a galaxy of top BJP leaders and allies as also conspicuous absence of any representative of key alliance partner JD(U) and Opposition Congress.

Modi, who became Chief Minister for the first time in 2001 and again in 2002 and 2007, was sworn in along with seven ministers of Cabinet rank and nine Ministers of State.

"Took oath as Guj's CM for the 4th time! A memorable day. I assure we will live upto the faith people have reposed in us," Modi tweeted after the ceremony.

"My thanks to people, senior leaders & spiritual leaders who graced the occasion & to all who watched the event live," Modi said on microblogging site Twitter.

In a show of unity amid lack of clarity over who would be BJP's prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 general elections, the party's top leadership including veteran L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, its leaders in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his Chhattisgarh and Karnataka counterparts Raman Singh and Jagdish Shettar were present.

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