New Delhi geared up to crown ‘PM Modi’ today
Security beefed up for oath-taking ceremony; MPs told not to bring their spouses along
When the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Narendra Modi and his ministers take oath of office in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday, the ceremony to mark the occasion will not only be memorable but quite different from earlier swearing-in ceremonies.
In 1990, Chandra Shekhar, the eighth prime minister of India, was the first to bring oath-taking out of the majestic Ashoka Hall and among the people. Later, taking a leaf out of that book, Atal Bihari Vajpayee also held his oath-taking in the forecourt.
Attractive though it might sound, such events have pitfalls, too. Since these are planned right down to the last minute, such ceremonies are security agencies’ nightmare – more this time as the prime ministers and presidents of all neighbouring countries, including Sri Lanka’s Mahinda Rajapaksa and Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif, are attending the event with their delegations.
In preparation, all offices around Rashtrapati Bhavan, including the North and South Blocks, have declared a half day on Monday. The result: Bureaucrats have booked most golf courses in the area from 2 pm to celebrate the unexpected holiday.
The members of Parliament attending the function have been told they cannot bring their spouses – there are around 740 MPs from both Houses of Parliament and this number will swell to 1,400 if they come in couples. The ministers to be sworn in – there is no clarity on the number or identity of these people – will have to restrict the number of their guests to four each.
All traffic will be diverted in the heart of Lutyens Delhi till late evening, as the swearing-in will be followed by tea and, later, dinner. The number of those attending could go above 3,000, with BJP eager to make this a historic affair. Apart from Sharif and Rajapaksa, the dignitaries to be present include Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Bhutan PM Tshering Tobgay, Nepal PM Sushil Koirala and the Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. Bangladesh will be represented by Speaker Shirin Chaudhury. Also, invitations have gone out to all Heads of Mission and it is unlikely even one will pass up the opportunity to be present. Chairs have been laid out in a semi-circular pattern facing the dais where the ceremony will take place. Since it will be outdoors, arrangements have also been made for pedestal fans and water-proof shamianas.
Source: Business Standard
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