Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute to BJP veteran late Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the Sadaiv Atal Samadhi, ahead of his swearing-in ceremony, in New Delhi on Thursday. BJP president Amit Shah is also seen (PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute to BJP veteran late Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the Sadaiv Atal Samadhi, ahead of his swearing-in ceremony, in New Delhi on Thursday. BJP president Amit Shah is also seen (PTI)

Capital prepares for PM Modi's swearing-in ceremony, turns into fortress

  • The swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his council of ministers will take place at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the evening
  • Nearly 5,000 paramilitary personnel have been deployed around the Rashtrapati Bhavan

New Delhi: Hours before his swearing-in ceremony, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday morning that national security would be the top priority of the union government.

Modi went to the Rashtriya Samar Smarak and also to Rajghat and Sadaiv Atal to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

“India is proud of all those brave men and women martyred in the line of duty. Paid tributes to our brave soldiers at the Rashtriya Samar Smarak. Our government will leave no stone unturned to safeguard India’s unity and integrity. National security is our priority," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, deliberations over the council of ministers continued as Modi met BJP president Amit Shah. While there is speculation of some new names being inducted in the council of ministers, the Prime Minister has called a meeting at 5pm of BJP leaders expected to join the government. Former finance minister Arun Jaitley has opted out of any role in the government.

The Capital has also turned into a virtual fortress, with the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his council of ministers scheduled to take place at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the evening.

While the Delhi police stated that a three-layer security had been rolled out in and around Central Delhi and the Rashtrapati Bhavan, nearly 5,000 paramilitary personnel were deployed in the area.

“Several companies from the Delhi Police will be in-charge of immediate security. Other than that, there are 30 companies (3,000 soldiers) of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), two companies of the Central Industrial Security Force and snipers stationed at arterial spots in the city as well," a senior home ministry official said.

Other than this, additional traffic police personnel have also been deployed along routes leading to the Raisina Hill.

According to a report in the 'Times of India' on Thursday, the Rashtrapati Bhavan was getting ready to host some 8,000 guests. Chefs were preparing to cater for a reception after the swearing-in ceremony, expected to be a one-and-a-half-hour-long ceremony as well as a private dinner later. The private dinner will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his new Cabinet colleagues, leaders of Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan as well as the president of the Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbay Jeenbekov, the current chair of the regional Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). The Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth, is also among leaders invited for the swearing-in ceremony, who will be attending the dinner.

In charge of the Rashtrapati Bhavan kitchen is Chef Montu Saini and the menu includes lemon coriander soup, a variety of chicken and fish dishes, and palak and vegetable concoctions, according to the Times of India report. The menu for the high tea before the dinner includes a variety of fruit and lemon tarts, sandwiches, samosas besides ‘rajbhog,’ tea, coffee and lemonade.

Special arrangements made by the Rashtrapati Bhavan this time include elevated seating to ensure that guests seated in the rear rows were able to get a clear view of the swearing-in ceremony, the report said. Officials quoted by the 'Times of India' report said apart from foreign dignitaries, the guest list for the swearing-in ceremony included the Chief Justice of India, the newly elected members of parliament, bureaucrats and a large number of BJP party leaders, their families and party workers.

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