Narendra Modi sworn in as India's prime minister for third term

Narendra Modi sworn in as India's prime minister for third term
Image : Narendra Modi Facebook Page

Narendra Modi has been sworn in as India's prime minister for a third consecutive term in a grand ceremony at the presidential palace in Delhi. The leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took his oath, vowing to "do right to all manner of people without affection or ill-will."

Modi's BJP-led National Democratic Alliance won the general election, securing 293 seats. However, this was a much lower margin than predicted by exit polls. The election saw a resurgence of India's opposition alliance INDIA, which won 234 seats.

Thousands of guests attended Modi's inauguration, including the heads of neighboring Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives, though Pakistan and China were not represented. Tight security measures were in place, with Delhi declared a no-fly zone and over 2,500 police officers deployed.

In his speech, Modi said he would uphold India's sovereignty and integrity, and govern with "true faith and allegiance to the constitution." He stated, "I will do right to all manner of people in accordance with the constitution and the law without fear or favor."

Modi, 73, is only the second Indian leader after Jawaharlal Nehru to win a third consecutive term. While exit polls projected an outright BJP victory, the party lost its parliamentary majority, relying on allies like the Telugu Desam Party and Janata Dal (United) to form the government.

The opposition INDIA alliance, led by the Congress party, has called the election a mandate against Modi's government. However, Modi countered this, saying the opposition tried to paint the results as a loss but "we didn't lose, we never lost, we will never lose."

Modi thanked voters for their mandate and pledged to eradicate corruption and poverty, stating, "Empowering the poor and middle class is our priority." During his campaign, Modi and the BJP faced accusations of using hate speech, attacking the Muslim minority, and jailing opposition figures.

On Friday, the prime minister-elect said the NDA alliance was "committed to the principle of sarva panth sambhava (religious equality)." The INDIA alliance has vowed to hold the government accountable and protect the constitution while in opposition.

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