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Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony : Who is attending, who isn’t

LiveMint logoLiveMint 25-05-2014 PTI

While all chief ministers of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will attend prime minister-elect Narendra Modi swearing-in on Monday, other parties’ leaders are divided on accepting the invite.

Chief ministers of Kerala (Oommen Chandy), Karnataka (Siddaramaiah) and Odisha (Naveen Patnaik) will skip the ceremony but new Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi and his Jharkhand counterpart Hemant Soren confirmed their presence. Tamil Nadu CM and AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa kept up the suspense about her presence at the event.

Apart from national leaders, heads of state and government of South Asian nations grouped under South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) have accepted the invitation to the new government’s oath-taking ceremony—including Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Kerala’s Chandy cited pre-scheduled engagements in the state for his absence from the event, which prompted the BJP to term the decision as “unfortunate”. According to the chief minister’s office sources, Chandy had received the invitation but informed Modi about his inability to be present on the occasion due to pressing engagements in the state. Chandy, a senior Congress leader, will be meeting the new prime minister during his next visit to Delhi, they said.

Senior BJP leader O. Rajagopal termed as “unfortunate” Chandy’s decision to skip the ceremony. Rajagopal, who was a minister in the Vajapayee government and had two terms in the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh, said he was confident that Modi government would be extending all support to the development of Kerala.

Siddaramaiah heading the Congress government in Karnataka toed a similar line. “The chief minister will not be going to Delhi tomorrow (Monday),” official sources said, but gave no reason. According to the schedule released by his office for Monday, Siddaramaih will be attending several programmes in Bangalore.

Wishing Modi all the best, Siddaramaih had last week hoped of cooperation from the Centre adding that irrespective of party affiliations, the union government should work in accordance with the Constitution and respect the federal set up.

But new chief minister of Bihar, Jitan Ram Manjhi, will attend the event. Sources in the chief minister’s office said Manjhi, who was nominated by Nitish Kumar as his successor, would leave early on Monday morning for Delhi to participate in the oath-taking ceremony.

Manjhi had received the invitation directly from Modi when he had telephoned to congratulate him after he was sworn in as the new chief minister succeeding Kumar who had resigned in the wake of Janata Dal (United)’s drubbing in Lok Sabha elections. JD (U) had ended its 18-year-old alliance with BJP in June last year in the wake of Modi’s elevation in the saffron party.

Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, who heads the UPA government in the state, will join Manjhi at the event. But their neighbour—Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik—will not be present. The state’s finance minister Pradip Amat will represent Patnaik at the event at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday.

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