Modi appointed 14th PM, to be sworn in on May 26

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63-year-old gets emotional in first speech at Central Hall

Modi appointed 14th PM, to be sworn in on May 26
The 63-year-old Narendra Damodardas Modi, who started his career as a tea vendor, was on Tuesday appointed as the 14th prime minister of India after he was unanimously elected as the leader of the BJP parliamentary party and the 29-party National Democratic Alliance.

Modi, who emerged as undisputed leader after the 2014 elections that saw BJP secure a solid majority in the 543-member Lok Sabha for the first time, was formally invited by President Pranab Mukherjee to take oath on May 26.

Modi, who has come a long way to excel in the world’s largest-ever electoral exercise and demolish archrival Congress, said with all humility that his elevation to the high post was a reflection of how a common man could aspire and achieve in India’s democracy.

“A new hope has arisen in the common man. This is the biggest significance of this election result. At the end of the day for whom is the government? It is for the poor,” he said in an emotionally-choked address after his unanimous election as parliamentary party leader at the historic high-domed central hall of Parliament.

As he stepped into the Parliament’s main gate for the first time shortly before noon on Tuesday, Modi bowed deeply with his forehead touching the stairs, to register his high respect to what he called the ‘temple of democracy’.

“I visited the Gujarat chief minister’s chamber for the first time when I became chief minister. I entered the Gujarat assembly for the first time after I became the chief minister. I have come here also for the first time,” Modi said, as he was greeted by senior party members.

Narendra Modi governed Gujarat for 13 years as chief minister. He was selected by LK Advani, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in 2001 to give direction to the election campaign in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. Modi has been Gujarat’s longest-serving chief minister.

Wearing his unflinching confidence on his sleeves, Modi, admired for his economic policies and growth scenario in Gujarat, promised to fulfill new hope and aspirations of the people, who had reposed faith on him and his party in the elections.

“I want to assure the people of the country that there is no need for pessimism going by the past bad experience... I am a very optimistic man and only an optimistic man can bring optimism in the country. I will try to live up to expectations of people,” he said and promised to present report card to people in 2019.

The BJP strong man, who campaigned single handedly traveling over 4 lakh km during the election campaign spanning eight months, Modi however became emotional and broke down while accepting his unanimous election as the parliamentary party leader.

“Advaniji ne ek shabd kahaa. Main Advanji se prathnaa karonga ki woh iss shabd kaa istmaal naa kare. Unhone kahaa ki Narendra bhai ne kirpa ki (Advaniji said that I have done a favour to BJP. I will request him not to use this term),” Modi said and broke down.

He was referring to earlier comments made by Advani, the party patriarch, while hailing Modi. On the occasion, he also mentioned former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who is unwell. “Had Vajpayeeji been well, his presence would have been ‘sone par suhaga’ (icing on the cake),” he said.

Advani, when he spoke, also became emotional when he remembered BJP workers. This is for the first time in country’s history since Independence that a non-Congress party has got a majority on its own in the Lok Sabha. The BJP, though in a position to form a government, would be taking along its 29-party NDA alliance.

A Rashtrapati Bhawan communique said as Modi has been elected leader of the BJP parliamentary party and has majority support in the house of the people, the President appointed him the prime minister of India and requested him to advise the names of members of the council of ministers.

“The President will administer the oath of office and secrecy on May 26 at 6 PM at Rashtrapati Bhawan,” President’s spokesman Venu Rajamony said. Though there is intense speculation about his council of ministers, Modi has kept the list close to his chest.

Modi, a no-nonsense man decisive man, will pick and chose his council of ministers and whatever appears in the media are only intelligent guesses, a party spokesperson said.

Earlier, all the top BJP leaders warmly greeted Modi in the Central Hall. Modi touched L K Advani’s feet, seeking his blessings.

A 15-member NDA delegation led by BJP president Rajnath Singh, met the president to hand over a letter on Modi’s unanimous election. Modi later met the President separately.

Modi’s name was proposed by Advani and supported by a number of leaders, including Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari.

There are reports that Modi has already directed the bureaucracy in Delhi to keep ready presentations on pending issues in all important ministries and is widely expected to announce a blue print for pushing mega projects in the country within weeks of assuming office.

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