International desk – Narendra Modi has been sworn in for a second consecutive term as India’s prime minister after his party won a landslide majority in the parliamentary elections.
Thousands were invited to the ceremony in Delhi, including regional leaders and Bollywood stars, where more than 50 ministers joined the 68-year old politician, according to media reports.
Supporters among more than 8,000 guests attended the ceremony chanted “Modi, Modi” when he approached to the podium to take the oath, administered by President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Some opposition leaders stayed away from attending the ceremony.
Amit Shah, who is credited with leading the BJP to magnificent victories in election after election, also joined PM Modi’s new government. The 54-year-old is likely to handle one of the top four ministries in the cabinet. Amit Shah has been PM Modi’s confidant for over two decades, according to NDTV broadcaster.
The seven-phase election that ended earlier this month was seen as a referendum on Modi, who is adored by many but also accused of stoking divisions.
He ran a campaign dominated by his personal image and national security after tensions with Pakistan spiked in February in the disputed region of Kashmir.
A BJP-led alliance won 354 seats in the 543-member lower house, known as the Lok Sabha.
Modi retained his seat of Varanasi by a margin of nearly half a million votes. He has become the first leader since 1971 to secure a single party majority in back-to-back elections.
His government will be under pressure to deal with a slowdown in India’s economy and provide more jobs, according to BBC.
The new government suffered a blow on Wednesday when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said he was standing down for health reasons.
“I am writing to you to formally request you that I should be allowed a reasonable time for myself, my treatment and my health and therefore, not be a part of any responsibility, for the present, in the new government,” wrote the former minister, a diabetic who had a kidney transplant last year, to Narendra Modi.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is also missing in the new cabinet. Ministers like Rajyavardhan Rathore, Jayant Sinha, JP Nadda and Anant Hegde were also missing.
Smriti Irani, who defeated Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his family constituency of Amethi, is expected to be rewarded with a big ministry, according to NDTV.
Nitish Kumar, leader of one of the party’s key allies in the BJP-led combine, announced just before the ceremony that his party would not be a part of the government because the BJP’s offer of one cabinet berth was not acceptable. Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar, had reportedly asked for two ministries.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, opposition leader Rahul Gandhi were among others attended the ceremony.