May 30, 2023

The swearing-in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to mark his second term in the forecourt of the illuminated Rashtrapati Bhavan on May 30 evening was more than one tale to remember.

As those seated on the stage waited for their turn to take oath of office after Modi, TV cameras panned to the front row of the audience t

But the most familiar faces were that of a set of BJP veterans — Venkaiah Naidu (Vice President of India), LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, and a new entrant, Sushma Swaraj.

Swaraj’s exclusion — along with Arun Jaitley’s opting out of the swearing-in exercise for health reasons — did raise eyebrows and, perhaps, made one wonder whether it was the final curtains on an era of late Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the helm and Advani as the virtual helmsman.

Both of whom charted the BJP’s journey from a party of two MPs to what it is today — a powerful political machine.

Of course, there is every possibility that Swaraj moves into a gubernatorial role shortly or Jaitley is back as a minister if he gets well.

But the missing faces and the new ones on that hot Thursday evening showed something.

Modi handpicked persons he trusts. He believes in their capability to get the job done in his second tenure, particularly in the areas he has identified as the thrust ones of his next five years.

At the same time, Modi won’t be patient if they don’t deliver unlike in his first term.

His 75 goals (concerning thrust areas ranging from youth to health to infrastructure to agriculture) listed as “75 milestones” in the BJP manifesto are not mere guideposts but a definite set of action plans that will set the future of election politics in the country.

In fact, after the results of the huge mandate was out on May 23, Modi made it a point to mention these milestones more than twice in his public remarks.

So, a ministerial team that Modi believes will deliver in his second term is also subject to a performance review like the goals themselves!

In picking his team, Modi spent far less time in confabulations compared to what he did in 2014.

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