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Modi to be sworn in as India's PM next week

BJP leader Narendra Modi to take oath on May 26 after country's president invites him to form next government.

Last updated: 20 May 2014 13:34
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Modi campaigned on promises of "smaller government, more governance" [AFP]

Indian Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi has said that President Pranab Mukherjee had invited him to form country's next government.

Modi, who led the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to a crushing election victory, will be sworn-in as India's next Prime Minister on May 26.

President Mukherjee invited Modi after members of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), that fought the elections under Modi's stewardship, formally chose him as their leader and conveyed the same to the president.

 

"The president has officially given me the letter. My swearing-in ceremony, as decided, will take place on May 26 at 6.00PM (1230 GMT)," said Modi.

The NDA won 336 of the 543 seats in India's lower house of parliament, making it the first time in a quarter of a century that the country will not be led by a coalition government.

The Congress party, which was in power for 10 years, managed just 44 seats.

Modi, 63, is entering New Delhi's power circle for the first time after running the western state of Gujarat for 13 years. He was named the BJP's prime ministerial candidate last year and ran a electrifying election campaign with a tight group of trusted aides, sidelining many senior party leaders.

Runaway success

The party's runaway success in the election has brought a lot of new faces into parliament.

All government ministers have to be members of parliament, either the upper or lower house, although they have six months to comply.

Modi, who campaigned on promises of "smaller government, more governance," may look at restructuring and merging some ministries.

Earlier, he held an emotional meeting in the national parliament, his first since his triumphant victory, urging his party colleagues to dedicate themselves to serving the nation.

The BJP leader bowed and kissed the steps of the building as he entered for the meeting of his party and its political allies.

Speaking in the central hall of the complex in New Delhi, Modi had to hold back tears in a rare public display of emotion by the hardliner.

"I said this earlier and I say it again: that 125 crore (1.25 billion) Indians' hopes and aspirations are embedded in this temple of democracy," he said.

The BJP, elected on promises to revive the economy, is expected to steer India sharply towards the right after a decade in power by the left-leaning Congress party, which has dominated India since independence in 1947.

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