India’s Modi to take oath alongside coalition allies

by Admin
India's Modi to take oath alongside coalition allies


Security was tight in the capital New Delhi on Sunday, with thousands of troops and police deployed as regional leaders flew in.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe – as well as leaders including those of Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives – are to due to attend the ceremony and following state banquet.

Neighbouring rivals China and Pakistan are notably absent in not sending a top leader.

Modi on Sunday laid flowers at the memorial to the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, before the Hindu nationalist leader paid his respects at the national war memorial.

Modi’s chief rival, Rahul Gandhi, was nominated on Saturday to lead India’s opposition in parliament after he defied analysts’ forecasts to help the Congress party nearly double its parliamentary numbers.

It was Congress’s best result since Modi was swept to power a decade ago, rescuing the party from the political wilderness.

A meeting of the Congress leadership on Saturday voted unanimously to recommend Gandhi’s election as India’s official opposition leader, a post that had been left vacant since 2014.

Gandhi is the scion of the dynasty that dominated Indian politics for decades and is the son, grandson and great-grandson of former prime ministers, beginning with independence leader Jawaharlal Nehru.

If elected, as expected, he will be recognised as India’s official opposition leader when the new parliament sits, which local media reports suggest will happen as soon as early next week.

Parliamentary regulations require the opposition leader to come from a party that commands at least 10 per cent of the lawmakers in the 543-seat lower house.

The post has been vacant for 10 years because two dismal election results for Congress – once India’s dominant party – left it short of that threshold.

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