Modi Is Sworn in for a Rare Third Term as India’s Prime Minister

Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister for the third time in a row, was sworn into office on Sunday. He relied on his coalition partners to secure a majority in parliament after his party lost in a shock result.

Modi and his cabinet ministers took their oaths of office administered by Droupadi Mumurmu at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, India’s Presidential Palace in New Delhi.

The popular, but divisive 73-year old leader is the only Indian Prime Minister after JawaharlalNehru who has retained power for a second five-year term.

In the most recent national elections, his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party failed to win a majority that would allow it to govern alone. Modi’s National Democratic Alliance won enough seats for him to lead a coalition government.


After a decade in which the BJP had a majority in the Parliament, it is the first instance that the BJP has required support from regional allies for the formation of a government.

The final results of the election released on Wednesday show that Modi’s BJP only won 240 votes, far below the required 272 for a majority. The NDA coalition won 293 seats out of the 543 members in the lower house.

Modi’s coalition depends largely on two regional allies to remain in power — the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in southern Andhra Pradesh and Janata Dal-United in eastern Bihar.

Meanwhile, Modi’s political challenger, the INDIA alliance led by the resurgent Congress party, put up a stronger-than-expected fight, doubling its strength from the last election to win 232 seats.

Avowed Hindu-nationalist, the Prime Minister is a champion for India’s Hindu majority. Hindus make up 80 percent of India’s population of 1.4 billion. Since he came to power, his supporters have credited him with a rapid economic growth as well as improving India’s international standing.

Critics say that he has also undermined India’s democracy and status as a secular country with Hindu nationalist attacks against minorities in the country, notably Muslims, and by shrinking the space for dissent and freedom of media. His political rivals have questioned the economic record of his government, pointing out high unemployment and increasing inequality despite strong growth.

The ceremony was attended by several South Asian leaders, including Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina and Sri Lankan president Ranil Wickremesinghe. Also present were Nepalese prime minister Pushpa K. Dahal, as well as the President of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu.

Since Muizzu’s election last year, tensions between India and Maldives are on the rise. Since then, he has taken a pro China stance and removed Indian soldiers stationed on a Maldives islet.