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Narendra Modi takes oath as India’s prime minister – BBC News

Image caption, Mr Modi has been sworn in as India’s prime minister for a third consecutive term

Narendra Modi, leader of the Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has taken oath as India’s prime minister for a third time.

The ceremony took place at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the Indian president.

Mr Modi’s BJP-led National Democratic Alliance won the general election with 293 seats, a lower margin than predicted by exit polls.

Thousands of guests have been attending his inauguration at Delhi’s Presidential Palace. Among them are the heads of neighbouring Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives – but not Pakistan or China.

Tight security has been in place in Delhi, which was declared a no-fly zone, with more than 2,500 police officers deployed around the venue.

Mr Modi said he would uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India and govern with “true faith and allegiance to the constitution”.

He said: “I will do right to all manner of people in accordance with the constitution and the law without fear or favour.”

During the ceremony, President Draupadi Murmu has also been swearing in a council of ministers of Mr Modi’s new cabinet.

The 73-year old is only the second Indian leader to win for a third consecutive term after the country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Exit polls had projected outright victory for his BJP party which ruled India for a decade, but it lost its parliamentary majority in the election.

His NDA bloc relied on two key allies, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Janata Dal (United) JD(U), to cross the 272-seat mark needed to form the government.

On Friday, the elected MPs voted Mr Modi as the leader of the Lok Sabha (the lower house of the parliament), leader of the BJP parliamentary party, and leader of the NDA.

Image caption, Thousands gathered outside the presidential palace in Delhi for the swearing in ceremony

It is not clear what concessions his allies may have negotiated in return for their support. India media report that several are seeking key ministerial posts.

The opposition INDIA alliance, led by the Congress party, has called the election a mandate against Mr Modi’s government.

Mr Modi, however, countered this on Friday, saying: “Opposition tried to paint 2024 Lok Sabha results as a loss for us. But we didn’t lose, we never lost, we will never lose.”

Image caption, Guests were seen fanning themselves at the presidential palace

Mr Modi thanked voters for their mandate, and said he would “do everything” to eradicate corruption and poverty.

“Empowering the poor and middle class is our priority,” he said.

During his election campaign, Mr Modi and his party were accused by critics of using hate speech, attacking the country’s Muslim minority, and jailing opposition figures.

On Friday, the prime minister-elect said the NDA alliance was “committed to the principle of “sarva panth sambhava” (religious equality).

The INDIA alliance has said it will fulfil its duty in parliament by holding the government in check and protecting the constitution.

Read More:Narendra Modi takes oath as India’s prime minister – BBC News