A Moun­tain of People at Raisina Hill

4k dig­ni­taries, heads of state, who’s who of In­dia Inc and Bol­ly­wood at­tend cer­e­mony

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics Modi -

NISTULA HEBBAR & RAKESH MO­HAN CHATURVEDI

If his com­pact Cab­i­net showed he did live up to his credo of ‘Less Govern­ment, More Gov­er­nance’, his swear­ing-in cer­e­mony proved that all things Modi tend to work out in a swift, stream­lined fash­ion with even the weather gods fall­ing in line.

Around 4,000-odd dig­ni­taries had gath­ered in the lawns of Rash­tra­p­ati Bha­van on Mon­day evening that had five heads of state in at­ten­dance, in­clud­ing Pak­istan’s Nawaz Sharif and Sri Lanka’s Mahinda Ra­japaksa, two for­mer In­dian pres­i­dents APJ Ab­dul Kalam and Prat­i­bha Pa­tel, out­go­ing prime min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh, Congress pres­i­dent So­nia Gandhi and the who’s who of In­dia Inc. Yet, many an eye was spy­ing on the sky to check if it will rain on Naren­dra Modi’s pa­rade as was feared. But the swear­ing-in cer­e­mony of the 15th prime min­is­ter — the most lav­ish in In­dian his­tory — went the way it was planned with the dig­ni­taries as­sem­bling by 5 pm, the heads of state trick­ling in by 5.30 pm, the PMdes­ig­nate ar­riv­ing in his Scor­pio by 6 pm, and Pres­i­dent Pranab Mukher­jee invit­ing him over to the dais at 6.10 pm.

As the PM stepped up to take oath, cries of “Modi, Modi” filled the swel­ter­ing May air, prob­a­bly an­other first, in this cer­e­mony of firsts. “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and a fee­ble “Jai Shri Ram” also com­peted, but were qui­etened quickly as the min­is­ters took oath. The crowd tried to min­gle, but los­ing a prized perch with a good view kept most glued to their seat de­spite the heat. Ex­cept the con­sti­tu­tional heads such as gov­er­nors (Modi had only asked for 17 in­vi­ta­tion cards for some of the gov­er­nors), ex­pres­i­dents, PMs and mem­bers of the SAARC del­e­ga­tion, there was more or less free seat­ing ac­cord­ing to blocks. New MPs rubbed shoul­ders with for­mer min­is­ters, the me­dia with for­eign diplo­mats. Newly elected MP from Suren­drana­gar in Gu­jarat, Fatepara De­va­jib­hai Govin­db­hai, dressed up in full Gu­jarati folk re­galia, was given a bit of a run-around be­fore he con­vinced the se­cu­rity staff that he was in­deed an elected mem­ber of Par­lia­ment. Soon to be sworn-in min­is­ters, per­haps sens­ing a restive au­di­ence, ap­peared among the crowd to ac­cept con­grat- ula­tions. When asked by the me­dia as to what port­fo­lio he was be­ing given, Ravi Shankar Prasad quipped, “One that would not take me away from you” — hint­ing that he would be given the in­for­ma­tion & broad­cast­ing min­istry. Pretty soon that cer­tainty was washed away with spec­u­la­tion.

The Am­bani fam­ily in­cluded not just broth­ers Mukesh and Anil, but also their mother Kok­i­l­aben. Mukesh’s wife Nita Am­bani was seen with sons Akash and Anant while Anil Am­bani’s wife Tina, too, was in at­ten­dance. Aditya Birla Group Chair­man Ku­mar Man­galam Birla, Bharti Group’s Sunil, Rakesh and Ra­jan Mit­tal, Kotak Mahin­dra Bank CMD Uday Kotak and Adani Group Chair­man Gau­tam Adani were spotted while Es­sar Group’s Shashi Ruia was seen in one of the front rows sit­ting next to CBI Di­rec­tor Ran­jit Sinha. Other cap­tains of In­dia Inc in at­ten­dance in­cluded Hero Group’s Pawan Mun­jal, Video­con Group’s VN Dhoot and Ra­jku­mar Dhoot, Hari Bhar­tia of Ju­bi­lant, DLF’s Ra­jiv Singh and Su­zlon’s Tulsi Tanti.

From the avi­a­tion space, Jet Air­ways Chair­man Naresh Goyal and the new emerg­ing car­rier AirAsia’s Mittu Chandilya were spotted.

The much-needed bling was added by Sal­man Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Vivek Oberoi, and of course ac­tors-turned-politi­cians such as Vinod Khanna, Hema Malini and hus­band Dhar­men­dra, Kir­ron Kher and hus­band Anu­pam Kher, lyri­cist Javed Akhtar and Sha­trughan Sinha. In­dian cricket team cap­tain Ma­hen­dra Singh Dhoni too was spotted while spir­i­tual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was seen in the front row.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.