In possible setback to LK Advani, Indore MP Sumitra Mahajan could be named Lok Sabha Speaker
Hectic back-channel negotiations are on to give final shape to the new government, even as Narendra Modi is set to be sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India on Monday.
In what may be a setback to party patriarch LK Advani, sources say that senior BJP leader and eight-time MP from Indore Sumitra Mahajan could be named the Lok Sabha Speaker. Ms Mahajan is the longest serving woman parliamentarian. Advani apparently had a desire to be the Speaker, as he would not have to report to the PM in that case.
Apart from Ms Mahajan, the other name doing the rounds for Speaker is Karia Munda, who was the Deputy Speaker in the 15th Lok Sabha.
Sources have also said that senior lawyers Uday Lalit and Mukul Rohatgi are the contenders for the post of Attorney General.
Modi would have a small Cabinet that will take oath along with him on Monday in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan.
The list of ministers to be inducted into the new Cabinet is likely to be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee tomorrow.
Sources say some senior BJP leaders including Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Shourie, Ravi Shankar Prasad are expected to find a place in the Cabinet.
Meanwhile, Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party is also expecting ministries, based on its good performance in the polls. The Akali Dal, the BJP's Punjab ally, has said it won't join the central government.
Meanwhile, Narendra Modi is expected to restructure the government, which will include merger of some ministries, to "remove anomalies" for the effective delivery of governance.
To give final touches to the Cabinet, Modi on Saturday held a series of meetings with party leaders.
The BJP won a massive mandate in the national election, winning 282 seats on its own - a clear majority - and 336 seats with its 29 allies. This is the first time that a party other than the Congress has won simple majority on its own in Parliament, and the first time in 30 years that one party has achieved majority.
According to sources, the Shiv Sena, a crucial ally of the BJP, is likely to get one cabinet berth when the new Cabinet is sworn in on Monday, following Narendra Modi's oath taking ceremony.
Apparently, Shiv Sena have nominated Anant Gite for the lone cabinet berth. He is an MP from Raigad and was part of Atal Bihari Vajpayee's cabinet.
Shiv Sena has claimed that more Cabinet berths have been promised to the party. It denied that Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was upset with the Modi-led BJP for not allocating more berths.
A total of 35 Cabinet ministers are thus expected to be sworn in on Monday. As things stand, will be only one minister each from the Shiv Sena and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
In total, there will be 30 Cabinet ministers from the BJP and 5 from the NDA allies, according to reports.
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Narendra Modi, who led the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP ) to a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections of 2014 will be sworn in as the Prime Minister on May 26 in the forecourt of the majestic Rashtrapati Bhawan in a grand function. The event will be graced by the historic attendance of foreign dignitaries including South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) leaders.
Bhutan's Prime Minister in India to attend Narendra Modi's swearing-in. (Read)
President Pranab Mukherjee will administer the oath of office and secrecy to the 63-year-old Modi and his Council of Ministers in the presence of a host of leaders, including outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, besides leaders of various other parties and Chief Ministers of a number of states.
Modi's mother Hiraba is also expected to attend the ceremony.
SAARC Anthem is set to be played at Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony
Narendra Modi will head the first government in 30 years where a single party has the absolute majority. It has been a remarkable journey to the top during which he has been pilloried by his critics and adored by his supporters who believe he will pull India out of the rut in which it is stuck.
The BJP its highest-ever tally of 282 seats, 10 more than the required majority number in the 543-member Lok Sabha, and catapulted the Gujarat Chief Minister to the pinnacle of power.
On May 20, 2014 he was elected by the BJP to as the leader of BJP Parliamentary Party. He gave an emotional 30 minute speech thanking senior BJP leaders LK Advani and Rajnath Singh and said he was committed to deliver on the promises he made during pre-election campaigning.
His swearing-in was announced to be held on May 26, 2014 after top NDA leaders met with President Pranab Mukherjee. The ceremony is expected to have over a 1000 guests. (Read)
Narendra Modi recieved congratulatory messages not only from Indian supporters but messages from world leaders too came in wishing Modi for his victory.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameroon were some of the noted leaders to wish the Indian PM. (Read)
The markers too surged crossing 25000 points with the news of the pro-reform BJP and Modi's victory in the elections. (Read)
The country's film celebrities too rushed to wish Narendra Modi for his astounding victory. (Read)
Choice of the venue: the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan
Following in the footsteps of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Modi had expressed his desire to be sworn in at the forecourt so that a large number of visitors can be accommodated for the ceremony.
Earlier, Chandrashekar was another Prime Minister who had taken oath at the same venue.
The historic Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhawan is the usual venue for such ceremonies. But since it can accommodate about 500 people, the forecourt was decided as the suitable venue. (Read)
SAARC Anthem was played at the ceremony
SAARC Anthem to be played at Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony.
Preparations for the ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan
A ground-to-air security cover on par with the Republic Day parade is being put in place for the swearing-in.
A multi-layered security ring was thrown around Raisina Hills by the Delhi Police and all offices around it will be closed five hours before the event takes place. The police barricaded all roads around Raisina Hills that lead to Rashtrapati Bhawan as part of the security measures. (Read)
IAF and NSG deployed
The Indian Air Force (IAF) put in place an air defence system to secure the skies and snipers will be deployed on all high-rise buildings around the high-security area. Mobile hit teams, anti-aircraft guns and sharpshooters of the National Security Guard (NSG) will also be deployed besides paramilitary personnel and Delhi Police commandos to secure the area.
Arrangements were made at Rashtrapati Bhawan for all the visiting VVIPs who were accompanied by their diplomatic teams. The sprawling forecourt lawns of Rashtrapati Bhawan were filled with chairs and arrangements were made for visitors to brave the summer heat in the national capital. (Read)
Indian dignitaries at the ceremony
Leaders from major parties were invited to the cermony. The Chief Ministers of all the Indian states were invited as well. The list includes Janata Dal Secular leader HS Dewe Gowda, Bengal Finance Minister Mukul Roy.
Some Indian leader have however chosen to decline the invitation to the historic ceremony.
International dignitaries at the ceremony
This is the first time that the heads of states of SAARC nations have been invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the Indian Prime Minister.
The swearing-in ceremony of the 15th Prime Minister of India was attended by nearly 3,000 guests, including top leaders from SAARC countries like Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Besides Sharif and Rajapaksa, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom will be among the foreign dignitaries attending the ceremony.
Apart from the SAARC nations leaders, the Prime Minister of Mauritius Navin Ramgoolam too has been invited for the swearing-in ceremony.
Bangladesh will be represented by Speaker Shirin Chaudhury as Premier Sheikh Hasina would be travelling to Japan at the time of the swearing-in ceremony. (Read)
Invitation and attendance of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
Indian politicians reacted strongly after Nawaz Sharif accepted the invitation to the swearing-in ceremony on May 24.
Various Congress leaders have been outspoken about their stand regarding the invite to the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Congress general secretary and spokesman Shakeel Ahmed wondered at an AICC press briefing whether Modi has forgotten that the atmosphere is not yet conducive to hold talks with Pakistan.
Congress leader Manish Tewari on Saturday said that Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi should raise issues his party has been taking up for the past ten years on matters related to Pakistan, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visits to India.
Congress' Rashid Alvi on Saturday welcomed the news of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accepting India's invitation to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister-designate and hoped that important issues are raised in the bilateral meeting between the two leaders.
Other Congress leaders have mixed emotions regarding the issue
Jammu and Kashmir politicos react
Major parties in Jammu and Kashmir welcomed the Pakistan Prime Minister's move to accept the invitation to the swearing-in ceremony.
The People's Democratic Party (PDP) has welcomed the decision and hopes this would do good to the India-Pakistan relations. They hoped this would help the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and bring in resolution to the issues faced by Kashmiris.
National Conference's (NC) Omar Abdullah too was glad that the Pakistan PM had accepted the invitation to Modi's swearing-in. he said that this will mark a new beginning in Indo-Pak ties
Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) leader KC Tyagi lauded Sharif's decision, saying: "We welcome Shri Nawaz Sharif's visit to India. We also welcome Modi's changed policies, as during the poll campaign he spoke against Pakistan.
Key National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ally Shiv Sena, which has been vocal against Pakistan for "sponsoring" terrorism in India Pakistan has come out opposing the invite to the Pakistan Prime Minister
Slain Indian soldier Lance Naik Hemraj's widow reacts
Slain Indian army soldier Lance Naik Hemraj's widow on Sunday said she would hold a protest against Nawaz Sharif's visit to India. She demanded that Sharif should either bring her beheaded husband's head to India or condemn his barabaric killing. (Read)
Indian Muslims welcome Nawaz Sharif's invitation
The invitation has aroused hope among the people in India and Indian Muslims, especially, are construing it as a portend of a happy turn of events. (Read)
Reaction in Pakistan to Nawaz Sharif's attendance in the swearing-in
Pakistani journalists and politicians however have welcomed the decision of their Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to visit India and attend the ceremony swearing Narendra Modi in as the Prime Minister of India. (Read)
Invitation and attendance of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa
SAARC nation Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa's invitation and attendance to the ceremony came under heavy criticism amongst Tamil Nadu politicians.
The NDA's ally All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) leaders have spoken against the Narendra Modi government's decision to invite the Sri Lankan president.. The Congress too joined the chorus against Rajapaksa's visit to India
MDMK chief Vaiko met even with Modi to try to change his mind about the invitation while the Congress leaders were one with the MDMK and the AIADMK opposing the invitation. (Read)
Communist Party of India (Marxist) reacts to Rajapaksa's visit to India
Amid strong opposition from all quarters to Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi's invite to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his swearing-in, CPI(M) on Sunday said the Centre should utilise this occasion for resolving the Lankan Tamils issue.
Tamil students in Delhi protest Rajapaksa's visit to India
A Tamil students group called Delhi Tamil Youth Forum staged a protest in the streets of Delhi on Sunday to register their anger against the incoming Government's decision to extend invitation to Sri Lankan President.
(With agency inputs)