Architect of the country's economic reforms, Dr Manmohan Singh, was on Friday sworn in as the Prime Minister at the head of a 67-member first-ever Congress-led coalition Government that has 28 Cabinet Ministers, including 18 from Congress and 39 Ministers of State, ten of them having independent charge.
Among the Congress veterans who found their way back into the Ministry were Pranab Mukherjee, Arjun singh, K Natwar Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad, P R Dasmunsi , Shankersinh Vaghela, P M Sayeed and H R Bhardwaj.
NCP Chief Sharad Pawar, RJD President Laloo Prasad Yadav and his senior colleague Raghuvansh Prsasad Singh, LJP President Ram Vilas Paswan , JMM Chief Shibu Soren and TRS Chief K Chandrashekhar Rao were also inducted into the Cabinet.
The ceremony was attended, among others, by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, outgoing Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, former Prime Ministers VP Singh, PV Narasimha Rao, Chandra Shekhar, HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral and the new Prime Minister's close relatives. Members of the new Cabinet, formed after discussions which went on to the last minute, followed Singh in taking the oath of office.
Attired in his trademark kurta-pyjama and blue turban, Singh went to the podium to a thunderous applause and took oath in the name of God.
Also present in the function were former Home Minister LK Advani, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka and Robert Vadera.
After the Prime Minister, senior member of the new Cabinet Pranab Mukherjee was sworn in. He was followed by Arjun Singh, and alliance partners Sharad Pawar and Laloo Prasad Yadav.
Ending a day of suspense, LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan, who reached the Rashtrapati Bhavan barely minutes before the ceremony, also took the oath.
While the Prime Minister and Mukherjee took oath in English, the others took it in Hindi.
Other senior Congress leaders to take oath were, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Jaipal Reddy, Kamal Nath, K Natwar Singh and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
Sheeshram Ola, Mahavir Prasad, PR Kyndiah, TR Balu, and Shankar Sinh Vaghela, who found place as Cabinet ministers in the 68-member Congress-led coalition government, were also sworn in.
PM Sayeed and Shivraj Patil, who had lost in the recent elections, were the surprise inclusions as Union ministers.
Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, PR Das Munshi, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Sunil Dutt, Meera Kumar, K Chandrasekhar Rao, Shibu Soren, A Raja, Dayanithi Maran and Anjumani Ramdoss were also sworn in as Union ministers.
Santosh Mohan Dev, Jagdish Tytler, Oscar Fernandes, Renuka Chowdhury, Kapil Sibal, Subodh Kant Sahay, Kumari Selja, Prafull Patel, Vilasrao Muktamdar and Premchand Gupta were sworn in as ministers of state with independent charge.
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