Old allies, new friends attend Modi show of strength

FP

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 from across the political spectrum. The Bihar government, ruled by a JD(U)-BJP alliance, however, sent no representative.

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

Prominent guests included RPI president Ramdas Athawale, MNS leader Raj Thackeray, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal and Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa. In fact, banners welcoming Jayalalithaa lined the road to the Sardar Patel Stadium, the venue of the swearing-in.

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).

VHP leader Ashok Singhal was also present. The gallery of religious leaders to the left of the main stage had Muslim and Christian representatives as well.

The opposition Congress stayed away.

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