Prime Minister Narendra Modi took oath before a packed gathering in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday evening, starting his second term as the head of the government of the country.

Modi, who returned to power with a massive mandate in the Lok Sabha elections 2019, was administered oath of office and secrecy by President Ram Nath Kovind.

A total of 57 leaders from the BJP and NDA allies also took oath as the new union council of ministers. Most of them were those who served as Union ministers in the previous Modi government.

Among those who took oath were Rajnath Singh, BJP chief Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and former foreign secretary S Jaishankar.

Singh, who served as Home Minister in the previous NDA government from 2014 to 2019, is the senior-most leader in the government. He was the first among the Union Ministers to take oath today.

Singh was followed by Amit Shah, who joined the Union Council of Ministers for the first time. Nitin Gadkari, DV Sadanand Gowda, Nirmala Sitharaman and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan followed Shah in taking oath.

Others who took oath of office and secrecy were Narendra Singh Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Thawar Chand Gehlot, S Jaishankar, former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Arjun Munda, Smriti Irani, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Prakash Javadekar, Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Prahlad Joshi, Dr Mahendranath Pandey, Arvind Sawant, Giriraj Singh, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Santosh Gangwar, Rao Inderjit Singh, Sripad Naik, Dr Jitendra Singh, Kiren Rijiju, Prahlad Patel, Raj Kumar Singh, Hardeep Singh Puri, Mansukh L Mandaviya, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Arjun Ram Meghwal, VK Singh, Krishan Pal Gurjar, Dadarao Patil, G Kishan Reddy, Parshottam Rupala, Ramdas Athawale, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Babul Supriyo, Sanjeev Balyan, Sanjay Dhotre, Anurag Thakur, Suresh Angadi, Nityanand Rai, Rattan Lal Kataria, V Muraleedharan, Renuka Singh Saruta, Som Prakash, Rameshwar Teli, Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Kailash Choudhary and Debasree Chaudhuri.

Many prominent ministers in the previous government were not considered for a seat. Among them were Suresh Prabhu, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, JP Nadda, Mahesh Sharma, Jayant Sinha and Maneka Gandhi. Ally Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal was also left out.

Sushma Swaraj, the former External Affairs Minister, had already opted out of the Lok Sabha race before the start of elections. According to reports, Maneka Gandhi will be the pro-tem or interim Speaker of the Lok Sabha.

Twenty-five of the ministers were of Cabinet rank. Nine ministers have been given Independent charge.

The BJP won 303 of the 542 seats on which elections were held. The NDA ended with a tally of 353 seats.

At least one member from each of the parties in alliance with NDA was included in the ministry. The Janata Dal (United), however, opted out.

“They wanted only one person from JD(U) in the cabinet, so it would have been just a symbolic participation. We informed them that it is ok we don’t need it. It is not a big issue; we are fully in NDA and not upset at all. We are working together, no confusion,” Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar said.

A galaxy of prominent names arrived at the Rasthrapati Bhavan in the evening for the swearing-in ceremony. With around 8000 people in attendance, Modi’s oath ceremony was the largest till date at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Among the invitees were members of the BIMSTEC countries, opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, Chief Ministers of various states, corporate honchos and film stars.