From Saroj Sharma in Gandhinagar
IT was a coronation fit for the country’s tallest leader. Amidst lusty roars of “PM,PM — desh ka neta kaisa ho, Narendra Modi jaisa ho” from supporters and karyakartas of the BJP, the Gujarat Chief Minister was sworn in for his fourth consecutive term as the elected head of the country’s most developed and industrialized state on Dec 26.
Dressed in an off-white half sleeve kurta and churidar Modiji took the oath of office and secrecy at a spectacular star-spangled function organized in the heart of Ahmedabad. A galaxy of stars from the political firmament, Bollywood and industry chieftains descended to Ahmedabad for the hour-long function which took place in Sardar Patel Stadium in the city.
Given Modiji’s superlative track record in leading Gujarat over the past decade to new heights of prosperity and enviable development and the thumping mandate he has secured for the third time in a row cutting across caste and religious lines, it came as no surprise that the entire BJP top brass was present to witness this historic swearing-in. From BJP President Nitin Gadkari to patriarch L K Advani, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, Balbir Punj, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rajiv Pratap Singh Rudy, former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhra Raje, Shahnawaz Hussain, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Anurag Thakur and Smriti Irani, almost all BJP leaders were there to applaud Modiji’s coming of age as a leader of colossal proportions. Bollywood stars Vinod Khanna, Kiron Kher, Suresh Oberoi and son Vivek Oberoi added glamour to the event as did several Gujarati stars and starlets including Darshan Zariwala, Ketaki Dave and Paresh Raval. Industrialists like Subroto Roy of the Sahara group were also spotted at the event.
Among the Chief Ministers who attended the ceremony were the CMs of BJP-ruled states namely Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan Chattisgarh CM Raman Singh, Karnataka CM Jagdish Shettar, Jharkhand CM Arjun Munda and Goa CM Manohar Parrikar. Other prominent CMs who attended were Tamil Nadu CM and AIADMK head J Jayalalitha, a known admirer and friend of Modi and Punjab CM Prakash Singh Badal of the Akali Dal, a key ally of the NDA. Resplendent in a purple saree with a yellow border, the Tamil Nadu CM was seated strategically next to the dais, a clear indication of her star billing in the Gujarat CM’s list of favoured friends . INLD chief Omprakash Chautala and RPI leader Ramdas Athavale, were also present.
The Thackrey cousins, Uddhav Thackaray, President of the Shiv Sena and Raj Thackaray, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief also attended the swearing in ceremony, a clear indication that Modiji”s popularity and acceptance as a pan-Indian leader is growing phenomenally. It may be mentioned that Raj Thackaray had visited Gujarat last year and had openly praised Modi’s leadership, his style of functioning and his development agenda. Top VHP leader Ashok Singhal also graced the occasion.
The magnificent swearing in ceremony was held in the flower bedecked and beautifully decorated Sardar Patel Stadium in the presence of thousands of invitees estimated to be over 40,000 . Modi ji took oath of office and secrecy along with seven Cabinet ministers and nine Ministers of State (MoS) in which the astute CM has made sure that adequate representations is given to all communities.
Following the ceremony the Gujarat CM personally met the visiting dignitaries and then drove around the stadium in an open vehicle in a victory lap, much to the delight of the spectators.
It may be mentioned that Modi is the second chief minister after Madhavsinh Solanki to take oath as Gujarat CM for the fourth time.
More than 200 priests and saints as well as Christian and Muslim priests were also present on the occasion to bless the newly elected chief minister and his team.
Earlier in the day, before leaving for the oath-taking ceremony, the Gujarat CM had expressed his pleasure at the turnout for the event. “Good to see love of so many people and the presence of distinguished leaders. Watch Live!” he had tweeted. It is reliably learnt that the CMO worked round the clock to ensure that invitees would have no problem reaching the venue and VIPs were personally chaperoned to the venue by officials of the state information department.