Ahmedabad, Dec 25: Signalling his determination to pursue the developmental agenda, Mr Narendra Modi today assumed the Chief Ministership of Gujarat for a third consecutive term after leading the BJP to a stupendous victory in the assembly elections.
At a brief ceremony at the Sardar Patel Stadium, the 57-year-old Modi was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Naval Kishore Sharma. Dressed in his traditional saffron coloured half sleeves kurta and white pyjama, Mr Modi took oath in Gujarati to become the 14th Chief Minister of the state, formed on November 1,1960.Held amid an unprecedented security, the swearing-in function was attended by nearly 2,00,000 people, including Hindu saints.
Top BJP leaders, including Mr L K Advani, Mr Rajnath Singh, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, and party Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand also graced the occasion, which coincided with the 84th birthday of BJP patriarch and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Former Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and NDA Convener George Fernandes were also present.
Mr Modi, who took oath alone today, will expand his ministry later in consultations with the central BJP leadership.
With Mr Modi's anointment, the BJP has formed its government in the state for the fourth time in a row. It had formed governments in the state after the assembly elections in 1995, 1998 and 2002.
In the just-concluded Assembly elections, Mr Modi defied the anti-incumbency factor and brought the BJP back to power. The BJP ended up with 117 seats in the 182-member assembly. The Congress could capture just 59 seats while the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won three seats. One seat went to the Janata Dal (United) and two to Independents.
Mr Modi, who single-handedly won a stupendous victory for the BJP in the state, was greeted with frenzied slogan-shouting in his support by BJP workers as soon as he entered the stadium. He immediately walked up to Mr Advani and Mr Rajnath Singh and hugged both of them. Thereafter, he exchanged greetings with other leaders present on the podium. He also touched the feet of the former Vice-President, who looked pleasantly surprised over Mr Modi's performance in the battle at the hustings.
After the brief oath-taking ceremony at 1350 hrs, Mr Modi took a 'victory-lap' around the huge stadium in an open jeep to thank the people for once again reposing faith in him.
The BJP President, Mr Advani, state BJP chief Purshottam Rupala and BJP Secretary incharge of the state Om Mathur gave him company in the vehicle as he undertook the 'victory lap'.
Mr Modi was yesterday elected leader of the BJP Legislature Party in Gujarat at a meeting of the newly-elected party legislators at Gandhinagar. In the evening, the Governor invited Mr Modi to form the new government in the state.