As the sun was setting in national capital on 26 May 2014, India witnessed the beginning of a new era at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Narendra Modi took oath as country's 15th Prime Minister in a glittering ceremony witnessed by more than 4000 guests including heads of all SAARC nations and his predecess or Dr Manmohan Singh.
The moment was historic as for the first time in the history of Indian politics a party other than the Congress had secured an absolute majority on its own, first time the country was getting a PM who was born in Independent India and first time after 1984 the electorate had voted for a stable government. Minutes after 6 pm Modi, who led his party BJP back to power at the Centre after a decade, was administrated the oath to be the next PM by President Pranab Mukherjee.
The entire event lasted for about 90 minutes. Along with Modi, 45 other ministers also took oath with him, including Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, M Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Uma Bharti, Maneka Gandhi, Ananth Kumar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Prakash Javadekar, Smriti Irani and Harsh Vardhan.
Modi had sent special invitation to heads of SAARC countries to come for the oath-taking ceremony and most of them landed in Delhi to grace the occasion. Presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, Abdullah Yameen of the Maldives, Tshering Tobgay of Bhutan, Mauritius PM Navinchandra Ramgoolam and Sushil Koirala of Nepal were there at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Bangladesh was represented by Parliament speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury.
And of course there was Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose presence was hailed as a coup of sorts. Modi tweeted later on that he and Sharif shared some 'emotional' moments together. The ceremony was watched live across the nation and in world capitals, on TV and also web casts.
Modi stormed to power on May 16, the day results for 2014 Lok Sabha polls were announced, in style. His party had got a majority on its own crossing the magical figure of 272 and the NDA had crossed the 330 figure mark. The victory was perhaps sweeter for Modi and BJP as the Congress was decimated in the polls, ending with just 44 seats, its worst ever tally. In rallies after rallies Modi had taken on the UPA government over price rise, inflation, scams and corruption.
He had also exhorted the voters to rid India of Congress and dynasty politics and appealed to them to give him 60 months. The BJP's campaign this time was different, seeking to present one man as the national leader and creating an unprecedented media blitz around him for nearly a year, so that voters simply got used to the idea and even started believing the hype, through sheer repetition of the images and slogans.
Use of Technology
Modi used technology to reach out to people and addressed 3D rallies that covered 1,350 locations. In all, Modi addressed rallies and programmes in almost 5,800 locations and covered a blistering 300,000 km. The campaign saw the party setting up a volunteer portal which served as a platform to get feedback and provide the volunteers a channel to work for the party. Party leaders said that various forms of social media, including Twitter and Facebook were innovately used in the campaign. Messaging platforms like WhatsApp were also used.
Change the rules of the game
Traditionally in India, elections are fought between parties. The DMK fights the AIADMK and the Congress fights the BJP. This time round Modi changed the rules of the battle by making the Indian election similar to the US presidential elections where leaders like Bush, Clinton and Obama have been the face of their parties.
People vote for the individual even more so than the party they represent. Clearly the BJP had the edge in leadership that was stated well in advance while Rahul Gandhi was at best a reluctant leader. The BJP and Modi capitalised on this lack of clear leadership
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