Old allies and new friends attend Modi swearing-in

Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi was sworn in as Gujarat chief minister for the fourth consecutive time on Wednesday in front of a guest list that included leaders across the political spectrum. The Bihar government, ruled by a JD(U)-BJP alliance, however, sent no representative.

Governor Kamla Beniwal swore in seven Cabinet-rank ministers and nine ministers of state along with Modi. The CM took oath amid slogans shouting "PM PM, Desh ka neta kaisa ho, Narendra Modi jaisa ho (The country's leader should be like Modi".

Prominent guests included Republican Party of India president Ramdas Athawale, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena founder Raj Thackeray, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal of the Akali Dal and Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa of the AIADMK. Banners welcoming Jayalalithaa, in fact, lined up the road to the Sardar Patel Stadium, the venue of the swearing-in. Jayalalithaa left soon after Modi took oath.

Subrata Roy of the Sahara Group was the only industry face in the guest gallery.

Amid the leadership tussle in the BJP, the party's top brass was there from L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari to CMs Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh), Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh), Jagadish Shettar (Karnataka), Manohar Parrikar (Goa) and Arjun Munda (Jharkhand). Former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje also attended.

VHP leader Ashok Singhal was there. The gallery of religious leaders to the left of the main stage had Christian and Muslim priests.

The opposition Congress stayed away.

Modi was first sworn in as Gujarat CM in September 2001, when the party replaced Keshubhai Patel. Since then, he has led the BJP to three consective poll victories in 2002, 2007 and 2012.

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