Narendra Modi kept his date with history when he was installed as the 15th Prime Minister of India. And how! Elections results were announced 10 days ago. He took his time to stake his claim. He took his time to announce the date of his Cabinet installation. He took this time to plan the most talked about installation ceremony.
He called heads of all SAARC countries and Counsels of all Embassies. He called all the Chief Ministers and all senior bureaucrats. He invited all major industry leaders with Ambani and Adani in the forefront. He let all his MPs call some of their friends or relatives. In all, he had 4,000 guests, the largest gathering for any PM installation.
He chose twilight as the time so that the whole world will see the beautiful Forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the splendid building at the rear lit by sunlight initially and then by the colourful lights that washed the presidential mansion. Yes, the timing was perfect for the Western and the Eastern part of the world as he took guard. And the TV cameras took these images live to them as he announced his arrival in style. Perhaps it was in answer to the western media, who have been critical of his ascendance, and painting a gloomy period under his leadership.
Modi has been talking of Minimum Government, Maximum Governance. He showed that he is not a man of idle talk. At the time of writing this article, it looks as though he would merge some ministries so that they can function more cohesively. He installed a 45-member Ministry with 23 Cabinet Ministers, 10 Ministers of State (independent charge) and 12 Ministers of State. The interesting aspect is no one was included in it because they belonged to a certain caste or religion or region or State. There was no discussion on whether women were adequately represented. There is, however, much speculation by media on who will get what ministry, but Modi kept them only guessing.
There have been many articles, many open letters, many TV anchors and many industry bodies setting agenda for him. It is all quite amusing, since he does his own homework and will do what it takes to put the country back on track. Even before he took charge, he has already asked the bureaucrats what four-five things that they would like to implement if they are given a free hand. He indeed has asked for a 20-minute presentation from all key ministries.
The world powers are watching, on what he will do. They want to engage with him, befriend him. They know that he is business friendly, growth friendly and not against FDI. The neighbours are already in awe of him. The country expects a lot from him, going by the stock market or the improved value of the rupee against the dollar. There is enormous expectation from the man. The first 100 days will be interesting. The next six weeks will be critical, when he plans his first Union Budget, when he will reveal his mind. He may have a 45-member Ministry (which could also get expanded), but all eyes will be on the man, the man who brought the BJP to power.
Going by the wonderful execution of the oath taking ceremony, we can hope he will deliver on the promise of development. And happy days are here again!
The author is Chairman of RK Swamy Hansa.