Before Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi takes oath for his second time on Thursday evening, he began his day by paying his respects to Mahatma Gandhi, late Atal Bihari Vajpayee and soldiers killed in the line of duty.
The Mahatma’s memorial, Rajghat, was the first stop on Modi’s itinerary as senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including party president Amit Shah, JP Nadda, Piyush Goyal and Giriraj Singh also accompanied him. Dressed in white kurta and churidar, Modi bowed down with flower petals in his hands as he prayed at the memorial to India’s greatest icon from the freedom movement.
Modi then went to Sadaiv Atal Samadhi, the memorial of late prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Sadaiv Atal Samadhi, the lotus-shaped monument in the memory of Vajpayee was inaugurated in December last year after he died on August 16.
The next monument he visited was the National War Memorial near India Gate, which is dedicated to soldiers killed in the service of the country, as snipers kept watch from high-rises along his route. Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat, Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba and vice-chief of the Indian Air Force Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria were also present.
More than 10,000 security personnel of Delhi Police and paramilitary forces have been deployed for the swearing-in ceremony and over 2,000 others will secure the route meant to be taken by PM Modi and foreign dignitaries.
United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, her son and Congress president Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh will be in attendance at the 7pm swearing-in ceremony on the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, where Modi and his cabinet colleagues will be administered the oaths of office and secrecy by President Ram Nath Kovind.
Leaders of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, or BIMSTEC, will be present at the swearing-in together with the Prime Minister of Mauritius and President of Kyrgyzstan. BIMSTEC member-states are Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan.