Narendra Modi Takes Charge, Ministers’ Portfolios Now Official

जसNEW DELHI :  Prime Minister Narendra Modi left Gujarat Bhawan early on Tuesday morning for his South Block office, where he laid rose petals and bowed before a photograph of Mahatma Gandhi. He then sat at his table and signed papers. His first tweet of the day was a tribute to India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who died on May 27, 50 years ago.
The new Prime Minister had begun work soon after being sworn in on Monday evening, meeting senior officials of his government. He hasn’t shifted yet to the official residence of the Prime Minister at 7 Race Course Road and will reportedly stay at the Gujarat Bhawan for a few more days.
In a few hours from now Mr Modi will meet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at Delhi’s Hyderabad House for what is expected to be an “ice-breaker” in Indo-Pak relations.
This evening he will hold the first meeting of his 45-member council of ministers, whose portfolios were formally announced this morning, many hours after they were sworn in along with the Prime Minister at a grand oath ceremony on Monday evening.
The delay in announcing portfolios meant a few false starts. Like Uma Bharati announcing her assignment – Waters Resources and cleaning of the Ganga – on Twitter and then deleting her post and apologising for the faux pas.
While some new ministers refused to comment last night on their portfolios till the official word was in, others, like Prakash Javedekar, who will be junior minister for both Information and Broadcasting and Environment, defended the rationale behind being given two seemingly disparate assignments.
In Mr Modi’s top four ministries are BJP chief Rajnath Singh, who is Home Minister and Number 2 in government. Last evening, he took oath immediately after Mr Modi. He was followed by senior BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley. Mr Jaitley will be Finance Minister and will also have additional charge of Defence. Ms Swaraj will be Minister for External Affairs.
Nitin Gadkari, who heads a mega transport minister, has promised improved roads in India. There are 23 cabinet ranked ministers, 10 ministers of state with Independent Charge and 12 ministers of state in Mr Modi’s lean team.

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