Narendra Modi takes oath today, RSS and VHP leaders on guest list

As Narendra Modi takes oath of the Chief Minister's office for the fourth time, invites for Wednesday's function have gone out to a large number of RSS and VHP veterans, besides prominent industrialists and Indians settled overseas.

The guest list includes Indian-American Bishma Agnihotri, who was the ambassador-at-large during former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government. At present, Agnihotri is the chairman of Bharat Swabhiman Overseas, a US-based NGO said to be inspired from Bharat Swabhiman Yatra started by yoga guru Ramdev during last year's anti-corruption campaign.

Apart from Modi's personal invites to a few industrialists, chief ministers of BJP-ruled states and religious heads, formal invites have also been sent to former chief ministers and recently elected MLAs Shankersinh Vaghela and Keshubhai Patel.

Vaghela and Patel are not expected to attend the ceremony, to be held at Sardar Patel stadium in Ahmedabad.

Bhailal Patel, founder of Vishwa Bharatiya Samaj from Chicago, who was one of the organisers of Modi's video address to NRIs in the US at the 'Chaalo Gujarat' event on the foundation day of Gujarat in May this year, is likely to attend the swearing-in ceremony.

C B Patel, a UK-based publisher and editor who was among those said to have lobbied to end the UK's boycott of Modi, told The Indian Express, "Several industrialists and members of political groups will attend the function. Besides, there are people looking at investments. I can say there is enormous optimism among Indian communities abroad who support Modiji."

VHP leaders, who had distanced themselves from Modi over the past few years, were ready to attend the ceremony. They pointed to a press release issued by the VHP headquarters in New Delhi on December 20, the day poll results were announced, hailing Modi as Chhatrapati Shivaji. "Like Shivaji, Modi has upheld Hindutva and developed Gujarat in the last 10 years in an exemplary way," the release was quoted as saying.

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